This is the song I want played at my funeral, right after the closing remarks have concluded and just before everyone proceeds to get drunk as hell and share embarrassing stories about me.
LCD Soundsystem: “All My Friends” [from Sound of Silver, 2007]
It definitely seems a bit impetuous to pick a song I haven’t even spent 12 months with yet as the kind of song I’d like to define my life or whatever, but I’ll be dead so I’ll probably get over it anyway. Read on below, seven loyal readers.
First of all, this bitch is nearly eight minutes long, a final opportunity for me to annoy the whole lot of you — it would be insanely rude for you to get up and leave in the middle of it, even if you think it’s the worst song ever. I mean, I just died and you can’t spare a few minutes? O’Malley says “Face!” from beyond the grave.
But this song deserves every minute of its epic length. The piano riff that kicks it off and chugs right along for the song’s entirety sounds pedestrian at first but gains intensity as the song progresses and builds around it. Guitars, synths and drum fills galore slowly join the party as it cascades toward the end.
The lyrics are the big selling point, though. James Murphy will likely go down in history as the man who engineered the revival of dance-punk, but if they don’t include a graf about his amazing ability to pen precise yet deliciously vague couplets it will be a crying shame. Murphy goes headlong into life here, tackling the idea of getting older and taking stock and making choices and missing out and finding contentment and surrendering control and realizing what’s really important with such a light hand it’s uncanny.
“You spend the first five years trying to get with the plan/ and the next five years trying to be with your friends again.” Sound familiar? If you’re anywhere near 30, it certainly ought to. He makes you wait a verse before dropping the bomb, though: “I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision/ for another five years of life.” I broke down in tears the first time I listened to that line with headphones on. It felt like an existential forgiveness for everything I have ever done — you have to fuck up in order to get anywhere, so don’t worry about it. But take the risk no matter what.
That the music never slows down and just keeps going and going seems like a pretty fitting structure for a song about living. The relentless pace makes “All My Friends” feel like it doesn’t really have a climax, but by the time you reach the end, you realize that’s crazy talk — it was pure climax from start to finish. I’d like to think that’ll be familiar someday, too.