Shut up and play the hits (Movie)
Before I talk about Shut up and Play the Hits: The Very Loud ending of LCD Soundsystem (SUAPTH), I must confess that prior to the movie, I could not name one song by the band.
I could not tell you their genre, recall any memories of them or pick any member of the group out of a line-up. I am, however, a fan of documentaries and the idea of a behind the scenes look at the final gig preparations for any band is an interesting one for me. For a complete LCD Soundsystem layman, did this documentary deliver a solid standalone experience?
SUAPTH chronicles the preparations for LCD Soundsystems final gig in Madison Square Garden. At the peak of their popularity in 2011, the film follows James Murphy (The creative mind and front man) as he gives insight into his reasons for deciding to end the band, his original inspirations for their sound and his personal struggles in second-guessing his choice.
The film intersects live footage from the performance with more traditional documentary elements like interviews and video diaries. While I can appreciate the spectacle of the live performance, I must admit that I did not enjoy the punk-dance sound of LCD Soundsystem. The knee jerk melodies, off-beat vocals and synth-heavy style just aren’t my bag! Fans of their music will undoubtedly enjoy the show and can rest assured that the high production quality brings you right into the crowd.
The above mentioned documentary elements were certainly the highlight for me. While they stop short of giving a truly deep insight into the personality of James Murphy, they give great perspective on the stresses of organising large scale shows, handling press and the personal effects of calling an end to the thing you love most. Even though I don’t particularly dig his work, I found Murphy to be a very interesting guy; humble in his success, thankful for his fans and completely in it for the music, not the fame.
As a documentary, SUAPTH holds itself quite well. The movie will certainly be most appreciated by fans of LCD Soundsystem and the punk-dance genre in general. Its insights aren’t as deep as they could have been and the film is a little on the long side but hey, since when has punk claimed to be perfect?!
Shut up and Play the Hits is out now.