Take me home
These are the opening lyrics of “Home” by LCD Soundsystem. It is off This Is Happening. It introduces the song, but what is James Murphy saying? Is this someone reflecting on home or the plea of someone who has gone too hard and wants to go home? I guess that depends on how you listen to it. I hear regret in his voice. “Home,” the only word a person completely intoxicated can say. The subject’s friends think, what does she/he want? until she/he finally says, “take me home.”
Just do it right
Make it perfect and real
Because it’s everything
No everything was never the deal
These are the lyrics that Camélia turned me on to. She sang “Because it’s everything/No everything was never the deal,” every time we heard it. At first, I did not say anything, because loudly singing LCD Soundsystem is our thing—actually just specific lines and each had our own parts—and I had to find my lines. However, after listening to her a couple of times, I started to realize I liked the wordplay. However, I still did not know what the rest of the song was about.
So grab your things and stumble into the night
So we can shut the door
Oh, shut the door on terrible times
Last weekend, after telling Camélia that I was writing about the lyrics to “Home,” and forcing her to listen to it multiple times, I tell her, “This is a narrative. James Murphy is telling the story about people trying to go out to forget their troubles. This is the early relatable moment. It’s smart. You know what I mean?”
She looks at me.
I hate that I keep saying, “You know what I mean?”
Yeah, do it right
And head again into space
So you can carry on
And carry on, and fall all over the place
“That’s cocaine,” I say to Camélia, so proud of myself. I’m smiling like I was the first person to figure out what Donald Barthelme was writing about in The Dead Father.
“Yeah. Get it. So you can carry on, and fall all over the place...” I waited for a response. “Cocaine gives you the strength to keep drinking so you can stumble around...” She was not buying my interpretation.
This is the trick, forget a terrible year
That we can break the laws
Until it gets weird
See, it’s all about the Claw. “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.” White Claws? (Did I write that?)
And this is what you waited for
But under lights, we're all unsure
So tell me
What would make you feel better?
“Ha. Jim Murphy is like, ‘What drug do you want now?’ Annoyed because his partner is soooo fucking needy,” I say to Camélia.
“Oh. Jim Murphy,” she says.
I look over at her. Her face says it all.
“I think he will like something I write and post on social media before Thom Yorke does.”
As night has such a local ring
And love and rock are pick-up things
And you know it
Yeah, you know it
Yeah, you know
I have to confess to my ignorance. I used to love this section because I always thought the lyrics were love and luck are fickle things. Yes, once I saw “love and rock are pick-up things,” it made sense to me. However, love and luck are fickle things has such a good ring to it.
Is this a pivotal moment? Why does James Murphy say this? Is this because the narrator’s friend is forever taking and draining everyone emotionally? It could also be the moment when the subject of the song asks to be taken home.
I do not have an answer, but I love finding the key moments in songs and something about “Take” and the quiet way James Murphy says it makes me think it is crucial.
Forget your past
This is your last chance now
And we can break the rules
Like nothing will last
This is the ultimatum and comparison.
You might forget
forget the sound of your voice
Still you should not forget
yeah, don’t forget
The things that we laughed about
The narrator is confusing. What is happening? Are they trying to forget everything or not? Why would he ask the subject not to forget the things they laughed about? The complexity of relationships is what causes heartbreak. If they were simple, we could just walk away. Ugh.
And after rolling on the floor
And thankfully, a few make sure that you get home
And you stay home
And you better
I have worked in bars for years. There is something about people wanting to wrestle or roll on the floor at the end of the night that I cannot help but see in these lyrics. However, there is also a significant shift in content. They were going out to forget, but now they are taking the subject home because it is better for them. Is this because it is safer than being wasted in the city, or is it something deeper? What is at home?
'Cause you're afraid of what you need
Yeah, you're afraid of what you need
If you weren't, yeah you weren't
Then I don't know what we'd talk about
I jumped on board here because of the humor, but there is more here than that. The cause of the subject’s anxiety is what keeps the couple together. Shit! Yeah, shit! How often does this happen in life? We are stuck together, and the conversations are the same. Although we know change must happen, it is terrifying. And we become stuck — all of us.
Yeah no one ever knows what you’re talking about
So I guess you’re already there
No one opens up when you scream and shout
But it’s time to make a couple things clear
This is the climax. We see that “no one EVER knows what you’re talking about.” The nonsense is not just because the subject is drunk. It is at this moment that I feel for the situation. The fighting, the yelling. It does not help anyone. But the subject is afraid of what she/he needs, and it is the cause of all the problems.
If you're afraid of what you need
If you're afraid of what you need
Look around you, you're surrounded
It won't get any better
Here, I am left wondering. “It won’t get any better.” James Murphy, what are you saying? Are you saying that it CANNOT get any better? Like the subject is in the perfect place. Or in that situation, the subject will never get better? And needs to leave. I think the one screaming and shouting, pushing everyone away, is actually where she/he needs to be. She/he is loved, and that is why they keep giving her/him the opportunity to change.
The final line, “Until the night,” may be the reason I am trying to get out of the bar industry. Too many people believe this. They can push their problems down and further down by drinking and doing drugs. It is sad. I’ve seen it, and I’m over it. I am sympathetic, but “If you’re afraid of what you need...” Shit. What can anyone do for you?
I’m just going to say it: “Home” is one of the greatest songs of all time. It touches on humanity in a way that only James Murphy can. There is humor, but also great sadness and trouble. I want to find the narrator’s friend and say, “You have to make something happen. You have to step outside of your comfort zone. It is difficult, and I know most people cannot do it. However, those who love someone or something force action. Because they have to.”
Maybe this is not the conclusion these lyrics want, but in my time and place, I need them as an anthem to make changes. Avoiding what I need never accomplishes anything. And confusing my emotions and lashing out. It is terrible. I no longer want to be that way. So, as with everything, we accept things into our life because we need them. I need LCD Soundsystem to “make a couple of things clear.” But I will insist they are wrong. It will get better, because I will make the changes I need, and I will become the person I know I am.
Off-the-topic theory: If you listen to the deluxe album, “Home,” “Throw,” and “Oh You (Christmas Blues)” are a three-act play. “Home” opens up the story by giving you the background and telling you the gist of the story. “Throw” is the body. It takes the listener into the heart of the scene. We are shown, not just told. Then “Oh You (Christmas Blues)” is the climax. “How can I forget what you put me through? You think we’re cool. I know I’m ashamed. I want to forget.” Damn, James Murphy. Damn.