Remember when the reunion rumour was solely in the domain of the great fossils of rock’s mesozoic era? When the ravenous rumour mill of music journalism (read: Rolling Stone Magazine) was content to feast on reports of fabricated Zeppelin tours and that time that Pink Floyd got back together for Live 8? Every once in awhile, the rumour mill would be thrown a bone in the form of the Police or Van Halen and there would be much rejoicing. In fairness, this was almost immediately followed by an avalanche of hand-wringing think pieces about $200 tickets and 'legacy' from those who consider themselves to be part of rock’s indie and alternative intelligentsia.
Well, the joke’s on them. Alternative rock has officially entered the reunion era; however, when critically beloved dance-punk tastemakers LCD Soundsystem announced their reunion early this year, there was little rejoicing. In fact, people who came out in droves to buy records and see shows during the band’s initial six-year-run were disappointed and even hurt by their decision to return. Frontman James Murphy went so far as to share an apology on the band’s website. It was jarring to see such a negative reaction. But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. Fans should be stoked beyond belief that LCD Soundsystem are back.
The release of a new LCD album is a sketchy proposition for many fans. These are your typical reunion naysayers who harp on about legacy and the effect that an underwhelming fourth album might have on the band’s classic discography. For one, the album may very well be great; the other LCD records certainly were. Second, even if it’s a disaster, there is no reason why this should affect the perception of the other records. If you loved Sound of Silver and whatever new record they put out makes you love Sound of Silver less, maybe you like that record for the wrong reasons. Whatever happens, listeners will always have the first three albums. Whatever comes next should be thought of as a bonus.
Admittedly, LCD’s break up was a bit of an anomaly in the music world. Unlike other bands that spontaneously combust due to ego-collision and infighting, LCD’s separation was serene and meticulously planned. There was a last show at Madison Square Garden in 2011. There was a documentary about that show and the breakup of the band, 2012’s Shut Up and Play the Hits. There was a vinyl box set of the last show released for record store day 2014 called The Long Goodbye. Everything was wrapped in a nice little bow before the band came back and supposedly ruined everything. There have been countless comments online about how people’s experience of that last show is now sullied by the band’s reunion just five years later. That’s understandable. Here these people were thinking they were witnessing the end of an era only to have it resume roughly the same amount of time that it takes to record a new Radiohead record (fingers crossed).
People love a good ending, but consider this: I for one, was turned on to LCD at age 14 by a friend who linked me to a live stream of their last show. When it ended, I felt that great feeling that one always feels when they immediately connect to music for the first time, but of course, the moment was bittersweet. For myself and others who fell in love with this band over the past five years, LCD’s return is an opportunity to see the band live and experience the release of a new album for the first time. More than this, there are legions of potential fans who now have the chance to catch LCD at a festival and discover, for the first time, just what makes this band so special. Let’s not take that away from them. This is happening. Let’s get excited.