This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #40: All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem.
One of the most important things we have all learned from the recent pandemic is the importance of community. While we have been able to completely connect with people from all over the world via the Internet, many of us have never felt so alone at the same time. Loneliness is a debilitating emotional state to exist in for very long. We all seem to be longing for hugs and companionship and all of the other forms of personal comfort and contact that are hard to find via a screen. It will happen. Hopefully, it will happen, safely, sooner than later but, rest assured, it will happen. And, when it does, we will all exhale and refill our lungs with fresher air and a renewed recognition of how precious is this thing we call our friends.
“All My Friends” by New York-based band, LCD Soundsystem, was written a decade before the start of the pandemic. In fact, it was noted as being the “Song of the Year” by numerous music publications in 2007. As well, the album that “All My Friends” came from, “Sound of Silver” was, also, bestowed with numerous accolades, including, “Album of the Year” in 2007, as well. All of these awards are well-earned. For my money, “All My Friends” is one of the most cleverly-written songs I have ever heard and easily one of the most intelligently-crafted tunes in this entire countdown. There is a reason it sits as high in the countdown as it does.
In essence, “All My Friends” is a epic novel that unfolds slowly, bit by detailed bit, over the course of seven minutes. It was written by Generation Z folks for Gen Z folks. Generation Z folks are ones who were born in the 1990s and grew up as the first generation to live wholly in the age of the internet and social media. “All My Friends” covers the same ground as I did in my opening paragraph by telling the life story of Gen. Zers from their days in their twenties to middle age, in their forties. It takes a step-by-step approach at chronicling those early years, when adulthood beckons and they all stepped freshly into the world. How exciting it all was! How intoxicating was the power to chart your own course for the first time; being with friends, going everywhere and doing everything but then, it all changes. We know that Life brings with it many bargains and, as we age, we enter into marriages and mortgages and family life and mini vans and soccer practises and investment accounts and lawn mowers and on and on it goes, until, one day, we find ourselves in mid-life, wondering how we ended up on meds for our cholesterol. For Gen. Zers, they were greeted with the same decision-making opportunities but, as they reached middle age, they often did so with the much harsher realization that technology offers cold comfort in old age and that a life spent in pursuit of “likes” and “clicks”, perhaps, wasn’t all that it was made out to be. That’s when a longing for human contact returns. The absence of that contact is an emotional abyss that seems impossibly daunting. If only one could turn back the clock to those early times spent with friends.
The live video that I will save with you in a few moments is incredible for capturing the story of Generation Z on film. Like a good novel, the song, “All My Friends” takes each member of the audience that you will soon see, on a journey within their own minds, as the lyrics describe their lives. You can watch their facial expressions as they nod their heads in agreement with the lyrics being sung, as if the lead singer, James Murphy, was privy to their blogs and vlogs and was now reading each one out loud, as the old song goes. Murphy adds layer upon layer of their life story; taking them all, individually, through the arc of their existence. He builds up the evidence that they started out happy and social and then details every moment; incident by incident, decision by decision, that caused them to willingly isolate themselves from the happier portion of their former lives. As the song goes along, the pace of the music and the lyrics gets faster and more frentic; reflecting how life gets complicated as it moves along. Finally, Murphy takes each audience member to their mid-life point where they find themselves as isolated as ever; ironically enough, in a time of hyper-connectivity yet, ever so alone. And then, he asks the question, “Where Are My Friends Tonight?” several times without answering because the beauty of this song is that those thousands of individual audience members who listened to James Murphy read their biographies aloud from the stage all suddenly realize that their journey of isolation has taken them ALL to this very moment, at this very concert and they are, in fact, not alone at all. They are with their friends at an LCD Soundsystem concert! That realization sweeps over the whole crowd and the effect is a combination of euphoria, exhaustion and exultation, all at once. It is absolutely amazing to witness. What a feat of song writing and performance delivery by the band! Like I said off of the top, this was “Song of the Year” in 2007 for a reason. “All My Friends” is utterly brilliant!
So, here is what I suggest you all do next. If LCD Soundsystem is a new band to you and; especially, if you have never heard “All My Friends” before then, please, follow my advice: having read this post, watch the video all the way through. Then, re-read this post and re-watch the video with wiser eyes. I can guarantee you that it will be tempting to watch the first minute or so of this video and think that the song is nothing special and what is all the fuss about? But, trust me, hang in and watch Murphy put on a master class of how to draw people into a story and how to twist their emotions inside and out. It is worth it in the end. It may just be me but, by the end of this song, when the band finally ceases their onslaught, I find myself drained. I hope that you will all like this performance. It is truly something special.
So, without further delay, here is LCD Soundsystem with the 2007 Song of the Year, “All My Friends”. Enjoy.
The link to the song, “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem, can be found here.
The link to the official website for LCD Soundsystem, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for supporting the most creative and innovative artists in every generation. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.