When LCD Soundsystem released their acclaimed album 'Sound of Silver' in 2007, one songs stood out in particular for it's honesty and maturity. Someone Great is a song about the death of James Murphy's therapist, it is a song of grief and loss, tinged with regret. It's devoid of sentimentality and is unbearably honest.
You'd hope that Murphy wouldn't have to express such painful emotions in a song again, but sadly, on American Dream he does.
American Dream, LCD Soundsystem's first album in seven years, is dedicated to the memories of 'David, Mike and the growing list of our dead'. I've no idea who Mike is but it's obvious that David is David Bowie.
It was Bowie who convinced James Murphy to reform the band after they split in 2010. Murphy should have co-produced Blackstar with Tony Visconti but was too 'overwhelmed' by the experience to fully participate.
Black Screen - the 12 minute track that closes American Dream sees Murphy paying tribute to his great friend and mentor. It's a heartfelt eulogy. From the opening line, he is talking directly to Bowie: 'You couldn't make it to our wedding day, too sick to travel...' Murphy's voice is cracked and full of mourning. Behind him a funereal bass note throbs repeatedly.
Murphy acknowledges the feelings that he had during the making of Blackstar: 'I had fear in the room so I stopped turning up'. It's a heartbreaking admission.
After Bowie died, Brian Eno spoke of the amusing emails that they would write to each other, even in the period leading up to his death.
On Black Screen Murphy sings about reading back email trails, particularly those where Bowie's quick replies made him feel high. It's a memory that he cherishes.
Murphy concludes that Bowie could be anywhere 'on the black screen.'
Lost in the heavens? A Black Star? A Star Man? We'll never know. Murphy's sense of loss is almost palpable.
All that is left is for an improvised piano to weave around the throbbing bass until it disappears. A touching and mesmerizing final song.
Read Outsideleft's review of LCD Soundsystem's show in London earlier this year
See our entire top 30 album playlist below
Jason Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jason's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.
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