35 Albums in 35 Years: 2005

In an ongoing attempt to bleed my opinions all over your computer screen, I’m selecting one album from every year that I’ve been alive that has some sort of significance to me…and then writing about it. Welcome back to 35 Albums in 35 Years.


lcdsoundsystem2005: LCD Soundsystem’s LCD Soundsystem

I didn’t necessarily appreciate it at the time, but there’s just something about a doughy, thirty-something dude putting up the beats and angular, post-punk guitar chatter, going off half blitzed and smart-assed that makes me happy. It makes me smile. It makes this doughy, thirty-something dude want to get back on stage and give it another go. While James Murphy and company would go on to refine and perfect their sound over the next two LCD Soundsystem albums (2007’s Sound of Silver and 2010’s This Is Happening respectively), there’s just something about the raw energy and immediacy of that first self-titled LP.

And then there’s the fact that it just trounced everything else out there, a self-aware, booty-shaking, disco-punk record that made all the output of cats ten years younger pale in comparison.

Having already made a name for themselves off of singles like “Losing My Edge” (essentially a mission statement for everything that was to follow), “Tired” (a kind of blaring, Krautrock-infused stomper in the vein of The Stooges’ “TV Eye”), and “Yr City’s a Sucker” (nine minutes of grooving, pulsing dance music that somehow manages to come off as subtle), LCD Soundsystem kicks in with an emphatic beat and Murphy’s holler on party-starter “Daft Punk Is Playing at my House.” The tone is set from that point, and the next 46 minutes jump around from dance-rock to psych pop to acid house to disco to post-punk and back again. “Tribulations” is an all out raver. “Great Release” feels like something Brian Eno would have toyed with during his proggier days. “Never as Tired as When I’m Waking Up” sounds like some long, lost garage-psych rock masterpiece. And echoes of Suicide and The Fall are splattered amongst the damn near sublime production work of Murphy and crew.

In a lot of ways, the album plays out almost like a history lesson of the music the cool kids listen to, a kind of homage to the band’s influences and all the hip stuff we like to think that we discovered first. And it does all this with only a hint of irony. There is an earnestness to all the tribute and all the fun that makes the record (and the band by extension) that much more enjoyable.

And he was 35.

Now, why am I so focused on James Murphy’s age? First off, check the title above. And secondly, 2005 was a different kind of year for me. I was working, my (future) wife was attending law school, we had been living together for a couple of years, I had just bought my first new car (that was then subsequently destroyed by a hailstorm), friends were getting married all over the place, and my band had just broken up. I was in that weird, twenty-something period where you’re not in school anymore, but not really a part of any significant workforce yet…treading water. And then my musical aspirations just kind of dried up and stopped. The dream was over as they say. And now I’m just the old guy swimming against a sea of punk rock kids.

But, like Tom Selleck before him, James Murphy was in his thirties before he “made it.” So there’s a chance. There’s always a chance. The dream is still alive. You’re not too old. One of these days, Daft Punk will play at my house too.

- Favorite song: “Tribulations”
– Runner up: “Never as Tired as When I’m Waking Up”

Some other albums I almost wrote about instead: The Mars Volta’s Frances the Mute; Boris’ Pink; Gorillaz’s Demon Days; Queens of the Stone Age’s Lullabies to Paralyze; Low’s The Great Destroyer; M83’s Before the Dawn Heals Us; Jesu’s Jesu.


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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