TO CELEBRATE THE RECENT RELEASE OF OUR 33 1/3 ON LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’S SOUND OF SILVER, WE’RE PLEASED TO BRING YOU THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF LCD SOUNDSYSTEM WEEK BY AUTHOR RYAN LEAS!
For the first post for “LCD Soundsystem Week,” we’re taking it back to the beginning. LCD Soundsystem released “Losing My Edge” in 2002, three years before the full-length debut and five before Sound Of Silver. While there were more searching moves in the ensuing years between “Losing My Edge” and James Murphy’s other greatest statements, LCD’s first song was one of those stunning, immediate introductions to an artist that at once presented a fully-formed identity while also setting the stage for the growth and exploration to come. It was Murphy’s self-aware, self-deprecating, yet also personal screed about coolness, and aging, and losing that coolness, and desperately trying to hang onto that coolness—all conveyed in a song that launched the band that made Murphy cooler, and more of a big deal, than he’d ever been. Infamously, the narrator of “Losing My Edge” claims to have been there for, like, everything in the mythologized alternate history an indie listener would prize: not the Stones and the Beatles, but the first Can show, the first Suicide practice, hanging with Captain Beefheart, Ibiza in the late ’80s. He’s never been wrong. And in one last ditch to prove it, the song’s climax boils over into him manically listing all the best touchstones of his record collection.
There are dozens of artists listed in “Losing My Edge,” and while there was the dichotomy of Murphy dismantling taste-making mentalities in the digital era while also underlining his own taste-making prowess, “Losing My Edge” remains LCD’s definitive kick-off for how it also summed up so much of the culture in the years that followed. The anxiety and reflexivity of it connect to the ways culture shifted in the 21st century, the way everything became accessible, the way coolness as a notion warped. At the same time that Murphy was penning a cultural observation, he was also providing a roadmap of his interests—i.e., he was owning his identity as an artist as being one that was built on shrapnel, famous and not-so-famous, from the preceding several decades of pop culture history. That was a major part of LCD’s identity, and one of the ways in which they remain one of the more iconic indie artists of our time, a time in which culture at large feels built from that decades-long backlog of cultural debris.
Keeping in that spirit, we’ve collected songs from all the artists directly name-checked in “Losing My Edge” (provided they are on Spotify, which almost all of them are). Because as it always goes with Murphy, underpinning whatever half-joking cultural commentary he’s after, he does have impeccable taste. The playlist below features famous songs, obscure ones, indie godheads alongside artists entirely lost to history—it gives a glimpse into an obsessive music mind like Murphy’s, and it represents the way we began to consume and process pop culture in the era that also gave us LCD Soundsystem.