To me, a perfect song isn’t something that can be quantified by the amount of choruses, verses, lyrics or minutes, but by how it changes you. How it lifts you up off your bedroom floor or out of your car seat and takes you to somewhere you never knew possible. To me, the perfect song is All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem.
It was one of my best friends in Melbourne who introduced me to it. My phone lit up with a link to a song and a message from her that said “listen to this”. It was the beginning of August 2022, a week-long heatwave had just hit Los Angeles and I was in the centre of it. I’d just spent a month on tour with Camp Cope in North America and was missing my friends back home. I connected my phone to the car’s audio system, pressed play and suddenly, I was being held by the arms of love once again.
At almost eight minutes long, All My Friends starts with one minute and 20 seconds of repetition – the one chord progression (simply A and E) that continues through the entire piece, while drums and synths slowly build around the central pulsing progression. A song that repeats the same two chords over and over would usually bore me, but what keeps me on my feet is the changing synth parts and the subtle growth of the lyrics, sung with the beautiful timbre of James Murphy.
I spent the next month driving around Los Angeles listening to All My Friends in my rental car with the windows down, letting the sun and music warm the places in me I’d believed to be long frozen over. Seeing the Hollywood sign in the distance, getting stuck in traffic on the freeway, weaving my way through the hills of Laurel Canyon, speeding out to Pasadena, coming home at three in the morning from a lover’s house in Studio City. This music accompanied me to places I never thought I would go – the driving force of the song felt like a companion. Often in life, I feel as though I am wandering alone – but not with All My Friends by my side.
The first five times I listened to the song I thought James was writing about being drunk at a party and stumbling around the streets of Brooklyn until dawn, contemplating his youth and current position in life. But after five more listens it felt as though the song was about group therapy. The joint act of simply sitting around in a circle talking through the difficult aspects of life and slowly figuring it out together. I believe songs exist to be interpreted by the listener, and this song came to me when I needed it most, when I was alone in a foreign place trying to figure out what I was doing with my life, wondering who my friends were and where they might be.
By chance, LCD Soundsystem were headlining the This Ain’t No Picnic festival at the end of my month in Los Angeles. I stood at the back of the crowd and danced, uncontrollably, by myself, until I was clean of self-effacing thoughts, clean of any regrets or pain, clean of any comparisons that rid me of my happiness. I couldn’t stop moving. I felt as though I’d spent my entire life living under a storm cloud in the freezing darkness and All My Friends cleared the sky until it was just me, standing in the warmth of the sun, basking in its rays for those eight minutes, swallowed by the sound.
Georgia Maq’s EP Live At Sydney Opera House is out now. Camp Cope’s latest album is Running With the Hurricane