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If you are a fan of popular music, whether it's Rock or Post Punk or
Club Music, I think you'll really enjoy this Rockumentary. I was
woefully unaware of LCD Soundsystem until I saw the preview for "Shut
Up and Play The Hits" about a month ago or so. I was intrigued, so I
checked out some of their stuff online and was really amazed to
discover songs that I could dance to ( more of a dance from the neck up
for me, the rest of my moves are not terribly smooth) but at the same
time these songs are funny, intelligent, cynical and emotional all at
At last, I saw the movie yesterday and it really floored me; Great cinematography, great insights into the meaning of Rock 'n Roll fandom, legend and lore, 20C. youth culture vs. 21C. youth culture, great odes to New York - both musical and visual.
What you realize about James Murphy, the driving force of LCD Soundsystem, is that he is first and foremost a Rock 'n' Roll devotee who then decided to have a go at it himself. Not only does he have a knack for the art form but he has a great perspective lyrically that has real heart and playfulness as well as a world weariness that is somehow very comforting. It's clear that Murphy is torn about his decision to stop performing, which leads to an interesting exchange between interviewer Chuck Klosterman and Murphy about life choices as one moves into mid life.
Please Go See This Movie EVEN if you are NOT familiar with LCD Soundsystem, - maybe check out a couple of their songs before hand for the fun of it - you'll definitely Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!!
"Hey", Steve Albini wrote, "breaking up is an idea that occurred to far
too few groups". However, it's definitely an idea that occurred to LCD
Soundsystem, as frontman James Murphy decided to disband the group, not
long after their third album was released, despite the fact that they
were now at the peak of their fame and acclaim. Nothing bad had
happened there were no bust-ups between members, drug troubles or any
other music clichés Murphy simply wanted to wave goodbye to his
dance-punk creation and respect should be given to him for that. He
chose to go out with a bang, by staging the group's largest gig to date
on the 2nd April 2011, in New York's Madison Square Garden to a crowd
of nearly 20,000. That gig is chronicled in this excellent Will
Lovelace-and-David Southern-directed documentary. The live footage on
display here is superb, with an Arcade Fire-featuring rendition of
'North American Scum' and the emotional climactic performance of 'New
York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down' proving to be highlights.
However, 'Shut Up and Play the Hits' isn't strictly a concert movie, as it also features some backstage footage, an interview recorded a week before the gig and clips of Murphy rambling around New York, often with his little bulldog in tow. This may sound boring when compared to the palpable energy of the concert footage, but these intercuts are anything but. They're revealing and engaging as we are given a glimpse of Murphy leading up to the final gig and the day after it. In particular, the interview is the most interesting with Murphy offering an overview of LCD Soundsystem and refreshingly frank responses to the questions he is asked.
This film isn't just for LCD Soundsystem aficionados; it's one for anyone who enjoys music documentaries. And if you are a fan of James Murphy, I struggle to imagine any reason why you wouldn't like this. Its offstage clips are poignant, while its beautifully shot concert footage is absorbing. If this truly is the end of the group, then this is a terrific way to say farewell.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In 2001, James Murphy formed LCD Soundsystem at the age of 31. After
releasing their first full length album in 2005, and two more albums in
2007 and 2011, with countless songs that made music lovers fall in love
with them, the music world was surprised to hear Murphy say that the
band was stopping.
They weren't "breaking up" and there was no fight. The band was just stopping; ending; retiring. Just like that. Planning the end ahead of a tour, Murphy and LCD now had an exact end date looming ahead of them and as they built closer and closer to their final show at Madison Square Garden, writers, celebrities, and other musicians all wanted to be part of that final show. This final show, the days leading up to it, and the day after are all a part of the new documentary "Shut Up and Play the Hits." Beginning with aerial shots and crowd views of the moments after the final show accompanied with deafening noise cutting out any on screen sound, we get the feel of the final moments of LCD Soundsystem before experiencing it ourselves. The energy, emotion, and passion seen in the fans and in the mess of the arena just scratches at the dynamic of this final show; a show that we will get to see much of.
Being that this final show was sold out, it is amazing for LCD Soundsystem fans that couldn't see the performance live to have the chance to see this documentary on a big scene. With beautifully shot scenes of Murphy and the band playing their hits for the last time and amazing sound editing and mixing, fans can feel like they were actually at that last show.
But this film is not just for LCD Soundsystem fans. It is for anyone who loves music. The doc, specifically the interview with Chuck Klosterman and the moments of Murphy in his private home and visiting friends, gives us a deeper understanding of the culture of the music. Klosterman brings it up in his interview with Murphy when he asks him if the music and performance is more important than the culture or if it needs to be a 50/50 split. Murphy replies how important it is to be 50/50 and how you can tell when you see a show if the band is into the music they are playing and that, among other parts of the concert going experience, plays a major factor into the enjoyment for fans.
To read the rest of the review (IMDb form too short) visit: http://custodianfilmcritic.com/shut-up-and-play-the-hits/
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A documentary supposedly about a band breaking up and playing its last show ever. Spoiler alert.... the band gets back together less than 5 years later to play the headline spot at a music festival and other shows because the money is too good. You could watch this "film" still and witness great performances, made at the time of their lives, with special guest appearances of other talented musicians duped into thinking this is it!... this is the final act ever! You can watch it for the audience as they dance intensely with all their abandon because they are really believing this is it!... this is history in the making here! The documentary now is really about how everyone one of these people are being duped. Duped.
I really had looked forward to this movie, being a big LCD Soundystem
fan for years, but it really opened my eyes to the ego of James Murphy,
who I had once thought to be one of the coolest guys making music
today. Everything felt staged or scripted. The movie opens with Murphy
"waking" to his phone ringing, but was there a camera man filming him
all night waiting for him to wake? I don't think so. There are several
other moments like this peppered throughout the film.
The interview that forms the backbone to the documentary is more cringey than anything else. Murphy's ego can't be kept in check and some of his answers make you wish he would stop talking and cut back to the farewell concert in Madison Square Garden, which is really the only thing that feels natural here. It's a fantastic, huge performance and is captured brilliantly.
Towards the end, where we see Murphy going to the store where all the band's gear is kept and breaking down and crying in an Oscar-worthy performance. Again, it all feels staged: "now for the emotional bit". I actually ended up feeling slightly sorry for the guy, crying over a few synthesizers.
They were a great band but they were only around for 9-10 years. I think the guy needs some perspective. "Shut Up and Play the Hits" is a more apt title than they probably realized.
This was a pretty solid "music" documentary. The concert footage from
MSG was nothing short of spectacular (I'm looking forward to seeing the
entire show on DVD).
The dialogue between Murphy and interviewers was incredibly weak however. Murphy seemed uncomfortable with truly expressing what he was thinking, obviously he was put on the spot constantly and didn't know how to respond. I also found it humorous that he insinuated that he loves taking the subway... yet he was riding around in a town car or Escalade the entire time... child please. I used to really like Murphy but after seeing this film I totally understand why the band folded, he is incredibly egotistical. See it for the excellent concert footage, ignore Murphy rambling.
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