Pounding the pavement, northern suburbs, Melbourne 2009
James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem always seemed brilliantly out of step. Literally the oldest guy at the party, who was kind of embarrassed to be there, but nevertheless his presence made the whole thing worthwhile.
All My Friends may be the song that captures the personal nature of LCD Soundsytem the best and reasonates so clearly with me.
I’d heard the song before, but I’d never really listened to it properly until I set upon a run with headphones one day in early 2009. That hypnotic opening quickly sucks you in like the hypnotic left, right, left, right of runners hitting the footpath. And sometimes it’s only on a long run that you can make sense of life’s many conundrums.
Then, and many times since, the song spoke to me as a fork in the road moment. Do you continue to aim for the stars and chase the dream, or do you recede back to a simpler life?
The line that pierced me that night (and still does) is around spending the first five years trying to get with the plan, and the next five years trying to be with your friends again.
Simply, in 2009 it said to me: Is your ambition, whether that be career or love, worth putting ahead of your friends and family?
It gave me pangs of guilt that perhaps I’d let my feet float too far above the ground. Was I striving for something that would ultimately leave me empty while ignoring those who cared most?
Within the same seven-minute opus the song then provided an uplifting road map for the future, while never settling that question: Murphy exclaiming over and over If I could see all my friends tonight.
The question is still as relevant for me today, a quietly never satisfied ambition that somehow seems the polar opposite to settling down like others are doing in their 30s. The endless nights, the reminiscences of youth and the creeping fear of ageing that James Murphy was so realistically dealing with never solved this for me – but it gives me a place to go when that struggle bears down.
That road map says that all my friends are the most important thing, and coexistence is not a question of either/or: it’s a bedrock come what may. I’m no closer to solving that ambition versus comfort question but I know that All My Friends will at the very least keep my friends in my corner wherever the ambition takes me.
© Brutas Mudcake. Brutas lives in Melbourne nourished by the twin nutrients of sport and music. His debut Stereo Story was about Dancing On The Jetty by INXS.