It’s a testament to LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy’s distinct gift for storytelling that “Someone Great” manages to be one of the most evocative songs of grief written since the turn of the century without also being, as one might expect, an ode to a lost lover, or departed parent, or what have you.
Instead, this stark, heartfelt take on the realities of loss from 2007’s Sound of Silver is a rumination on the death of Murphy’s recently deceased therapist. With his trademark blend of glib and candor, Murphy pulls no punches when contemplating the vacancy left in one’s life by a tragedy that a less empathic soul might mistake for mundane. “Someone Great” succeeds precisely because it acknowledges in no uncertain terms the crushing workaday facts of the matter involved in coping with a dear friend’s absence. “The worst is all the lovely weather/I’m stunned its not raining, ” Murphy agonizes. “The coffee isn’t even bitter/because, what’s the difference?”
Musically, the song’s thrumming, hypnotic rhythm and melancholic synth textures perfectly underscore the song’s depiction of a deeply personal dejection at odds with an otherwise humdrum day-to-day. Lifted from a chunk of the group’s experimental release 45:33, “Someone Great” unfolds slowly, punctuated by a bittersweet, almost lullaby-like xylophone and building to a denouement that, no matter how stirring, never loses a poignant sense of intimacy.
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