Seen Your Video: LCD Soundsystem, “Drunk Girls”

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I do not for one second understand the critical and music geek slurpfest that LCD Soundsystem has basked in since its inception. And the thing is, I should understand it. They like the same bands I like. They play the kind of music I like to listen to. But I do not like LCD Soundsystem. From where I’m standing, they are quite possibly the most overrated band alive today. Indeed, this is how I ended my review of their last album, Sound of Silver:

“The band never rises above their influences, and James Murphy can’t sing. In the end, though, none of that matters. All that matters is that LCD Soundsystem is cool, and if you like them, then you’re cool, too.”

So…are you cool?

Fortunately, I gave up on being cool a few years ago, and let me tell you, that was a wonderful thing. Trying to stay hip is hard – there is a very popular blogger whose name I could cite as an example of someone bending over backwards to maintain their hipster cred, but I won’t; she’ll find out the hard way soon enough – and here’s the thing that aging, former hipsters don’t tell you: you’d be amazed to discover how much better music sounds when you stop acting so pious and elitist about it. Does that mean I’ve lowered my standards? Not at all. It simply means that I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of my musical tastes anymore. And that includes anyone tempted to use the comment section below to tell me how stupid I am, so don’t waste your time.

Now, back to LCD Soundsystem, the cool band of the moment. This is the second one-take video I’ve seen this week (Slow Club’s is the other), showing that the OK Go ripple effect is in full swing. The clip begins amusingly enough, with the aforementioned singer who can’t sing standing in front of a test pattern screen, trying to sing while guys in animal costumes (dogs? Panda bears?) pester Murphy, Al Doyle (at least I think it’s Doyle) and Nancy Whang as they try to sing along to the track. Pretty soon, the inappropriate touching gives way to truly obnoxious behavior. Nancy gets egged, but not before getting a bullhorn blasted in her ear. Doyle gets hit with fire extinguishers, stripped and has trash dumped on him. Murphy and Whang are duct taped together and written on with markers. The subtext is not hard to read: LCD Soundsystem are the drunk girls, and the guys in suits are frat boy douchebags. The video ends with everyone partying and completely defacing the set.

The clip will definitely get people talking, and while I get and appreciate the point it’s trying to make, it’s still pretty ugly. Besides, the video’s moral, as it were, will be lost on the majority of its audience anyway. Doyle is even seen drinking with the animals at the end, which sends all sorts of mixed messages. Do the drunk girls deserve what they get? Hmmmm.

Ah, but no one’s going to talk about the video’s message. All anyone cares about is that this band that is perceived as cool made a “controversial” video that got the blogosphere buzzing. Their fans will line up to tell them how wonderful they are, and the press will say that it’s the best record since their last record. And in the end, I’m aware that I’m contributing to this phenomenon, even though this piece is in dissent.

But for God’s sake, man, someone had to step up and say it – LCD Soundsystem are just not that good. They probably could be, if they tried a little harder. But this, this is just piss take music, all arch, pretend irony and posturing without an ounce of genuine emotion. If some band with a lower hipster rating released this song, everyone would say it was shit. And the song isn’t shit, per se, but it’s not awesome, or even good. It’s just music by a band lucky enough to be popular with the cool kids. Imagine how popular they’d be if they actually put some effort into it.


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