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Shut Up And Play The Hits

Shut Up And Play The Hits

Released 4 September 2012
Director Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern

James Murphy, Pat Mahoney, Nancy Whang, Chuck Klosterman, Gunnar Bjerk, Matt Thornley, Gavin Russom, Josh Stern, Al Doyle, Tyler Pope, Keith Wood

Thomas Benski, James Murphy, Lucas Ochoa
Origin United Kingdom, United States
Running Time 109 minutes
Genre Documentary, music
Rating 15A

Funeral Party.

Half-Rockumentary half-live footage, Shut Up And Play The Hits follows LCD Soundsystem visionary James Murphy over a two day period from the day of the band’s final gig in Madison Square Garden to the morning after the show, while also capturing the blood, sweat and tears (there are a lot of tears) of said gig.

Providing a stunning portrait of Murphy- a regular audiophile and Rock ‘n’ Roll devotee that stumbled into the music industry by accident and didn’t become famous until he was nearly forty- the film charts his doubts about giving it all up in order to get married, have kids and do all that other normal stuff. These uncertainties lead to some interesting exchanges between Murphy and interviewer Chuck Klosterman in footage which is spliced throughout. Klosterman’s tough questions reveal not only Murphy’s motivations, but also his fears about his decision. When asked what his greatest failure was as a musician, Murphy humorously suggests a cancelled gig in Dublin due to volcanic ash before admitting that it could very well be his decision to quit. This interview also gives great insights into the meaning of Rock ‘n’ Roll fandom and 20th vs. 21st century youth culture- straight from the mouth of one of the most important and influential musical pioneers of the past decade.

Live footage wise, this is as close as a documentary can get to a real-life gig experience. As we see the massive stage set-up being assembled at the start of the film, the message, "If it’s a funeral, let’s have the best funeral ever" appears on-screen, and indeed, Murphy and his band go out with a bang. An instantly sold-out, four hour visual extravaganza- the gig is an explosive celebration of the demise of one of the most important bands of recent times. While on a base level, LCD’s songs are energetic and danceable, lyrically they manage to be witty and observant, intelligent, cynical and emotional all at once. Murphy’s expertise in numerous genres and lyrical perspective- a world weary playfulness that is somehow very comforting- means that an audience reaction is guaranteed, whether a head-bop or a foot-tap.

This film is not just for LCD Soundsystem devotees, but for anyone who loves music- whether Pop, Rock or Club. The interview segments and moments of Murphy at home and visiting friends give us a deeper understanding into the culture behind music and brings into question the notion of what it means to be a ‘music fan’. Anyone that doesn’t have some kind of reaction to this film is quite simply a lifeless, listless shell of a person.

- Cathal Prendergast