Shut up and Play The Hits

Rating: NNNNShut Up And Play The Hits is framed around LCD Soundsystem's bittersweet Madison Square Gardens farewell gig.However, like the.

Rating: NNNN

Shut Up And Play The Hits is framed around LCD Soundsystem’s bittersweet Madison Square Gardens farewell gig.

However, like the band’s songs (sometimes described as music about music), it’s less a concert film than a film about concert films. The live footage is impressive, but the focus is really on band leader James Murphy wrestling with his decision to end the band, and the aftermath of their final show.

Murphy is a complicated guy. He reluctantly started the band after accidentally recording an underground hit. He writes songs that feel like late-night arguments about music that still manage to be emotionally powerful and painfully real, despite his notoriously caustic sarcasm. He made some of the most era-defining music of the early 21st century, then calmly pulled the plug at the height of the band’s career.

Some might question whether Chuck Klosterman is the most appropriate music critic to conduct the interview portions of the film, since his image isn’t quite that of the archetypical LCD Soundsystem fan. However, his refusal to let Murphy dodge questions with self-deprecating hipster quips is a big part of why the film works.

Overall, it examines how we construct our identities, the pressures of aging, the fear of change and the related terror of staying the same.

A very unlikely film about one of the most improbable rock stars ever.

James Murphy DJs at the Hoxton Friday (May 4). See listing.

Read the 2010 NOW cover story on LCD Soundsystem and the decision to quit while they were ahead.

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