LCD Soundsystem’s anthemic ‘All My Friends’ is ten years old today.
THAT’S HOW IT STARTS / WE GO BACK TO YOUR HOUSE
It takes a while for a banger to mature into an anthem. Ten years ago James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem put out ‘All My Friends’ as the second single from their Sounds of Silver album, and it went into the UK charts with the proverbial bullet at #41. Auspicious!
But like whisky, you gotta age that sucker.
You need to listen to it with your friends.
Dance with it at a dozen late-noughties indie nights.
Bring the room together at a house party.
Swirl it around the group a little until it becomes That Song you dance to together.
Let it seep into you all a bit, and then ooze back out with a few personal flavours turning it nice and caramel-coloured.
Do this for a while – about ten years ought to do it.
And with each new dance the dance becomes more about celebrating all the previous dances until it morphs into something like the Traditional Folk Song of the Millennial Indie Kid.
IF THE SUN COMES UP / IF THE SUN COMES UP / AND I DON’T WANNA STAGGER HOME
Even though it’s seven minutes long, i.e Ages, Friends always feels just about right. (I’m putting to one side the sacrilegious radio edit.) When it’s a track this poignant, praying that the party never stops, it deserves to hang on to its own bittersweet end. In fact, like any good party, it more-or-less flies past on the momentum of its own stumbling-downhill piano riff until suddenly, oh shit how is that the time? (Also important: it isn’t too long, because a slowly dawning sense you’d quite like it to be over would undermine the central conceit. I don’t know if there 6 and 8 minute long edits that got dumped Goldilocks style until Murphy realised that the 457 second version was the maximum he could get away with.)
It’s also a good song to DJ at 1.59am when you’re only allowed to play one more song.
YOU SPENT THE FIRST FIVE YEARS TRYING TO GET WITH THE PLAN
The face value enjoyment of Friends is dead serious empathy with Murphy’s anxiety that, at 37, he might just be at the twilight of his party days. In retrospect it was kind of absurd to feel this way at 20 when you’re bopping about a student disco, but of course everyone is always worried that this could be It, the Beginning of the End, my favourite recent example being Lorde, at sixteen, sighing sadly on Ribs: ‘it drives you crazy, getting old.’
Oh god, we might never have any fun again!
Ugh we’re doing exams and then we might move and we’ll have to do JOBS.
And in any case we’re all definitely, definitely going to have given up drugs and smoking by the time we’re Properly Old at 25!
This is it guys, this is the END OF THE LINE.
The long-run advantage to this sentiment is that it only gets more relevant as time goes by. While the on-the-nose youth-fuck-yeahness of a ‘We Are Young‘ gradually ceases to apply, I’ve still got seven more years until I’m the age of an ‘All My Friends’-era James Murphy, so there are plenty more dizzying depths of age-related anxiety to plumb.
AND THE NEXT FIVE YEARS TRYING TO BE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AGAIN
The second level of All My Friends is that of delicious, smug irony, like the ‘now I go out alone / if I go out at all’ bit of The Rat. Because if you’re singing ‘Where are my friends tonight?’ with a dozen drunken sweaty answers drunkenly, sweatily embracing you, then congratulations, you still have friends! (For now.)
Ed Helms’ character reflected at the end of the The Office: ‘I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.’ Turns out, dancing with lots of your friends to songs about no longer having as many friends is a decent equivalent. It’s like the luxury airport terminal in Los Angeles that lets celebrity travellers watch a live feed of common folk schlepping through the regular terminal, just to remind them how bloody good they have it.
YOU DROP THE FIRST TEN YEARS JUST AS FAST AS YOU CAN
All My Friends, then: the long little happy-sad song that’s soundtracked parties, weddings and wakes, growing that bit more powerful each time. Here’s to jumping around together with all our friends, just so long as we have them.