Critically-acclaimed Brooklyn rock band LCD Soundsystem released their first full-length album since their 2011 disbandment Sept.1 to kick off their new reunion.
The band’s forth studio album, American Dream, acts as a rebirth of sorts, while touching on themes of growing older, love, realization and closure. This is a slightly new face for the recently reunited band — slightly more self-aware.
The album also makes numerous nods to music legends that passed away during the band’s three-year hiatus, such as Lou Reed, Alan Vega and David Bowie, who were all long time inspirations for front man James Murphy.
The entire last song of the album, “Black screen” is a 12-minute long tribute to Bowie, confessing the impact the late musician had on Murphy as both “a friend and a father.” The song dances between the common, yet deeply personal feelings of mourning and loss.
It’s evident growing older and fading away is on Murphy’s mind, as he continuously brings up death and aging throughout many of the album’s songs. Perhaps that alone is why the album was created: As an ode to those we have lost, and to the limited time we all have left. It’s a bit ironic how a “rebirth” album like American Dream touches on death so often, but there is also something incredibly human about it.
While the album touches on dark and sometimes delicate subject matter, it is not an album to bring you down; its twitching beats and fast-paced tempo carry the album from start to finish.
Murphy’s howling voice both awes and haunts in “I used to.” The song shows nostalgia as it reflects where exactly a relationship went wrong. With lyrics like, “you made me throw my hands at my own traditions, and then you’d have a laugh at my inhibitions,” the song shows inner turmoil and disbelief, as the protagonist tries to recollect who they are now, alone.
“Tonite” serves as both a parody and anthem of the modern music lover, with whom Murphy himself identifies. The song serves as a message for die-hard, underground music geeks like him, jaded by late-capitalism’s rebranding and consumption of the punk identity to the point of meaninglessness. Through lyrics like “I promise you this, you’re getting older,” Murphy warns of what’s to come.
In “Change yr mind,” Murphy addresses his fears of possibly outgrowing his passions and losing touch. Through writing lyrics like “I’m just too old for it now. At least that seems to be true,” we see a more vulnerable song from LCD Soundsystem.
Murphy reaches peak self-awareness in title track “American dream,” as he describes looking into the mirror at himself at “someone else’s place.” Lyrics describe taking acid and seeing the revolution has arrived, to “set you free from those bourgeoisie,” only to realize he may have outgrown his behaviors. “In the morning everything’s clearer, when the sunlight exposes your age,” Murphy wrote.
While the album reflected on many endings — from the end of relationships to the end of lives — it served as an exciting new beginning for the band post-reunion.