see also: TEN YEARS OF LISTENING TO: rainer maria
It’s the last day of August and it’s like summer in New York is making one last effort to remind us how fucking miserable she can be: overcast but still too bright, air thick and hazy and nearly one hundred degrees. It’s mid-afternoon and I’m hungover as all hell walking down Grand Street alone listening to LCD Soundsystem which somehow feels appropriate, somehow seems to encapsulate all the things I’m thinking right now.
New York I love you but you’re bringing me down. If I could see all my friends tonight. Wasted and complacent. We set controls for the heart of the sun, one of the ways that we show our age.
LCD Soundsystem’s 2005 album, that double disc one in the white paper sleeve, was one of the first albums I ever worked on, when I interned at Capitol Records my freshman year of college. I messengered posters of it to Bowery Ballroom, handed out stickers at Siren Fest. I listened to the CD on my clunky Discman on the bus ride to and from New Jersey.
It’s a funny thing, writing about music: the reviews are easy, pointless, and lord knows there’s dozens of them I’ve written in years past floating around the internet. But music reviews are never anything you care about, and maybe that’s why I gave it up, and why I gave up being paid to ask other people to write them too. Bag of adjectives and a word limit and an arbitrary rating; who gives? None of that sticks with you.
Other things do. You hear a song, you buy an album, and then eight, ten years later, there you are walking around the same city with the same song in your ears, with millions of memories since you first heard it.
Underground at the old Annex, that smoke-filled long-forgotten little hole, where was it, Orchard or Ludlow? I’m maybe 19 or 20, we’re all bad electroclash mullets and skinny jeans, vodka Red Bulls and Camel Lights, those first beats of “Daft Punk” whaaa whaaamp whaaamp whampp and everyone starts dancing again. 23 and laying in the bath in that terrible railroad apartment on Bedford Ave, bottle of wine melodramatically in hand, closing my eyes, and it feels like i’m in love again but not with you, i’ll just tell myself it’s you. Drumming my hands on the steering wheel of my mom’s Jeep driving to the beach with Jonas, yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.
And here I am now, 28, hungover, on the worst possible day of the year, listening to “All My Friends” for the something-thousandth time and wandering downtown on streets I’ve wandered for ten years. That joy and nostalgia and sadness and shame and shamelessness and wonder all at the same time: i wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life.
I flail through life: here I am, me and my little fists at the ends of my spaghetti arms whacking on every door I can, eating up every last thing and every last experience I can manage, more, more, more. And somehow it’s all still keeping itself together, somehow here I am, full speed ahead, marveling at everything that’s been and happened, all the apartments and jobs and homes and lives, all the friends and all the love I’ve had and lost and gained again.