Cover image by Steve Jennings for Getty Images
April 2nd, 2011. Madison Square Garden. A couple of 40-year-old rockstars take the stage for their final show ever, featuring the likes of Arcade Fire, Reggie Watts, and more than a few celebrities in the crowd. They play their hearts out for four hours, complete with confetti and a stunning rendition of “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” A fitting bookend to a band who did quite enough to cement their legacy as one of the greatest ever.
That is until Christmas Eve only four years later, when LCD Soundsystem released a surprise track that had people sending links and rejoicing in the music they thought would never return only a night before. Not even a year later, a couple big festival announcements for 2016—ahem, Coachella—and a formal indication of the band’s reunion, it still didn’t seem quite real. While some fans felt cheated out of emotional catharsis since the MSG show wasn’t actually their farewell, the vast majority of indie fans welcomed back James Murphy and Co. with open arms.
But how long is four years, really? Sufjan Stevens dropped an album in 2010 just like LCD Soundsystem, and it took him five years until Carrie & Lowell was released. Nobody assumed that he was done making music in those five years, so it makes the LCD situation even more curious. Could it have been a calculated move, a “Hey, we know we will want to make more music together in five or ten years, but let’s say this is our last ever show so we can make the return even better.”? Pure speculation, but something tells me that James Murphy was never really finished with his band the first time around. He felt he had more to say.
The most “New York City” band of all time—sorry, The Strokes—is back in full form after these past couple weeks. Appearing on Saturday Night Live and premiering two new songs really display that Murphy has not lost his spark over this half decade. The 47-year-old frontman remains one of the most self-aware and resonant songwriters in music with “Call the Police” and “American Dream.” Both songs stretch past the six minute mark, not uncommon for the band in question. While the songs don’t portray a very big evolution in sound, LCD Soundsystem is one of the few bands that could go their entire career without changing a thing and fans would still love every second.
How 2017 goes is entirely in LCD Soundsystem’s decision now. While there is no album announcement as of now, it probably won’t be long until we hear something about a new record. LCD Soundsystem is playing Pitchfork Festival, Shaky Knees, Beach Vibes, Mysteryland, and more this summer, so they will have their hands full either way. However, I think I speak for everyone when I say we are just happy to have them back.
Watch LCD Soundsystem perform “American Dream” live on Saturday Night Live below.