Track of the Day: 'I Can Change'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Spencer just put up a post on the new rumors of LCD Soundsystem’s return:

In 2011, LCD Soundsystem took the notion of quitting while you’re ahead to a joyful, lucrative extreme.

A mere 10 years into an influential career that was still on an upward trajectory, on the occasion of no scandal or tragedy or big fight, James Murphy’s art-disco rockers chose to break up—and memorialized the event in a Madison Square Garden “funeral” concert that also became a five-disk box set, a record-store exhibition, and a feature documentary.

At the time, people joked that they were doing this all to reap the profits that would come from a reunion tour a few years later.

And lo, on Thursday, Consequence of Sound reported that sources in the music industry say LCD Soundsystem will play at least three music festivals on 2016. Billboard then published confirmation from an anonymous source of its own.

But as quickly as the news triggered a social-media storm of crying-with-joy emojis and references to the band’s third album title, This Is Happening, Kris Petersen of Murphy’s label DFA tweeted that it was all a lie. “LCD Soundsystem are not reuniting next year, you fucking morons,” he wrote. Consequence of Sound’s Alex Young held his ground, though: “I’ve been working the LCD Soundsystem story for a month. It’s happening.”

Above is the fifth track off This Is Happening, the glorious “I Can Change.” Back in 2012, Joe Fassler wrote a piece for us addressing the question, “Why, Exactly, Did LCD Soundsystem Quit?”

“For most bands, playing Madison Square Garden would be this massive point of arrival,” [said Matty Fasano, a Brooklyn songwriter who sang backup in at that final show]. “The start of something new. But I think [LCD Soundsystem’s singer James Murphy] made a decision that he wanted to move on. Bands can be very limiting, in a way. Even just a band name. You’re expected to sound a certain way, you’re expected to do a certain thing with certain people.”

Though age is a liability for some rock stars, Fasano thought that maturity allowed him to reach a measured decision most younger musicians could never make.

“Being older than most rock musicians,” he said, “he knew that this massive popularity wouldn’t necessarily expand his options—it could actually limit them. I think it takes a wise, calm soul to see that. To see he could be less limited to stop the band when they had never made a bad record, that had never missed the spot. But he’s not going to go away. It’s a decision to walk away from ‘bigger and better’—and instead do ‘more and different.’”

Regardless of Murphy’s individual reasons, fans will certainly mourn this particular incarnation of his expression. “More than any Idea About LCD Soundsystem,” [another MSG backup singer Nick] Sylvester said, “We’re saying goodbye to a fucking killer live band. I’ll miss the simple joy of seeing those humans play music together.”