LCD Soundsystem, 'LCD Soundsystem'

The Clash Essential 50, in a nutshell: the 50 greatest, most significant, downright brilliant albums of Clash’s lifetime. We need them, which means you, too, most probably need them.

Why? Clash celebrates its fifth birthday in April. It’s not an anniversary to make too much of a fuss about – we’ll save that for our tenth, thank you very much – but worth marking all the same. And what better way to look forward to the next few years of Clash than a look back at some of our ‘greatest hits’.

The Clash Essential 50 was compiled by the core Clash editorial team – should you disagree with any of our selections, which will be counted down throughout April, you know where to go to have your own opinion heard.

For the top ten, we’re focusing on one album at a time – the best of the best needs its own space. Catch up with numbers 50 to 11 via the links below…


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LCD Soundsystem, ‘LCD Soundsystem’
(2005; DFA)

James Murphy released LCD Soundsystem’s self-titled debut in 2005 as two discs.

The first was the album proper: nine uniformly well-produced tracks, opening with dance fantasy ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ and reaching its peak with the bubbling dancefloor gold of ‘Disco Infiltrator’.

The second was a collection of six singles released since 2002, including underground hits ‘Losing My Edge’ and ‘Yeah’, which established Murphy’s intentions, and future, as an independent recording artist rather than just the owner and producer of New York’s DFA Records.

The album isn’t in this list due to one disc in particular; they’re each a different feather in Murphy’s cap. The singles are experiments in inventing a disco-punk crossover to unify the spirits of New York’s great musical movements past. The album is slicker, less immediate and full of squelching synths. It shares more in common with the fuzzy, synth experimentation of Suicide (and many subsequent imitators) than it does with Murphy’s first rough cuts.

But it is those roughest cuts, especially ‘Losing My Edge’, that have proved the most seminal. Overwhelmed by New York’s obscure hipster references and schizophrenic trends, on ‘Losing My Edge’ Murphy delivers an eight-minute rant on “the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978”. “But have you seen my records?’ he goads. They haven’t. Point being, they’d shit themselves if they did.

In contrast, the simple, rhythmical intensity of first disc tracks ‘Too Much Love’ and ‘Movement’ present a more measured musical trajectory through a set of brilliant beats and synth sounds. If ‘Losing My Edge’ is the musical equivalent of a classroom bollocking, the first nine songs are a degree course in production values and NY music history.

In total the album reflects the two sides of Murphy’s success - as a trailblazing and innovative producer, but also as a senior voice in a city saturated by know-it-all hipsters. The message of both discs, though delivered in different ways, is that proper dance music has all the musical power and authority of punk, new wave, no wave, or whatever musical trend has angled its way to the fore, if produced with purpose and without pretension.

Words: Jonny Ensall

LCD Soundsystem – ‘Losing My Edge’

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The Clash Essential 50 so far…

50: The Killers, ‘Hot Fuss’
49: Kasabian, ‘Kasabian’
48: Deerhunter, ‘Microcastle’
47: Bat For Lashes, ‘Fur and Gold’
46: Vampire Weekend, ‘Vampire Weekend’
45: MGMT, ‘Oracular Spectacular’
44: Portishead, ‘Third’
43: Elbow, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’
42: Amy Winehouse, ‘Back To Black’
41: Santigold, ‘Santigold’
40: Late Of The Pier, ‘Fantasy Black Channel’
39: Sigur Rós, ‘Takk…’
38: Efterklang, ‘Parades’
37: Liars, ‘Drum’s Not Dead’
36: The White Stripes, ‘Get Behind Me Satan’
35: Hot Chip, ‘The Warning’
34: Fleet Foxes, ‘Fleet Foxes’
33: Benga, ‘Diary Of An Afro Warrior’
32: Feist, ‘The Reminder’
31: Broadcast, ‘Tender Buttons’
30: Battles, ‘Mirrored’
29: Klaxons, ‘Myths Of The Near Future’
28: Tunng, ‘Mother’s Daughter And Other Songs’
27: The Libertines, ‘The Libertines’
26: Kanye West, ‘The College Dropout’
25: Apparat, ‘Walls’
24: Burial, ‘Burial’
23: Gallows, ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’
22: Caribou, ‘The Milk Of Human Kindness’
21: Broken Social Scene, ‘Broken Social Scene’
20: Sufjan Stevens, ‘Illinois’
19: Soulwax, ‘Nite Versions’
18: The Bug, ‘London Zoo’
17: Brian Wilson, ‘SMiLE’
16: Isolée, ‘We Are Monster’
15: My Morning Jacket, ‘Z’
14: Franz Ferdinand, ‘Franz Ferdinand’
13: Joanna Newsom, ‘Ys’
12: Modeselektor, ‘Hello Mom!’
11: Bloc Party, ‘Silent Alarm’
10: Animal Collective, 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'
9: J Dilla, ‘Donuts’
8: Arctic Monkeys, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’
7: M.I.A., ‘Arular’
6: LCD Soundsystem, ‘LCD Soundsystem’

Next week: THE TOP FIVE.

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