Sun Kil Moon has always been known for dense lyricism, and while this song may not be the most vocally packed, it is certainly the most personal from the band’s latest LP. Ben’s My Friend is one of the greatest mid-life crisis songs since LCD Soundsystem's Losing My Edge. Dealing with aging friendships, aching bones, an exhausted mind, and difficulty communicating, the song is centered around lead singer Mark Kozelek seeing a live performance by The Postal Service fronted by his friend Ben Gibbard, and the emotions that such a distant interaction with an old friend can cause. Aside from the weighty lyrics, Sun Kil Moon also adds their trademark classical guitar work, as well as a section of lounge inspired horns and some humorous lines (“Sports bar shiiiit”) to make a song that could otherwise be frightening and melancholy into something relatable and transformative.
Of course, we won’t soon forget his voice, either. But he knows as well as anyone that its the moments that matter: the first time you heard “All My Friends” surrounded by friends and sort of lost it; when you listened to “Losing My Edge”, chuckled, and then boned up on Can and Modern Lovers; going back to “Someone Great” after a loss. For a guy who once “vowed not to make personal music,” “Home” is a sentimental-yet-dignified last call. Murphy gets the last word: “If you’re afraid of what you need/ Look around you, you’re surrounded/ It won’t get any better/ So good night.”
“We produced a record for Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys called BS 2000 and as a gift to me he bought me a boombox with a cassette deck and a keyboard in it from a yard sale. That’s like a movie. Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys gave me a present, it’s a boombox with a keyboard and a beatbox in it. You can’t make that up. It had a beat already in it so I had an idea. I’m going to walk out, put that on a barstool, put a mike to it and just make s*** up to it. That’s what "Losing My Edge” was.“
1) James Murphy should commission a remake of “Losing My Edge” every 15 years, which means the first one would come out next year. Whoever’s the most James Murphy-ish at the time should do it. In 2017 that would be…I dunno, Tacocat? Parquet Courts? Drake?
2) If you just update the dates, the song goes:
I’m losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1976 to 1992
I’m losing my edge
To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin I’m losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered Early Aughts
The idea would be to update all the references to make it au courant. So there would also be lines about, like, crate-digging with Dilla, or tuning Stereolab’s synths, or sitting in on drums with the Melvins. Or…driving Saves the Day’s van? God, I don’t even know anymore.
4) You can now say “I was there” about LCD Soundsystem shows. I was there when LCD Soundsystem played the Bowery Ballroom for the first time in 2002, opening for the Rapture. They only had 2 songs out. We called them an “electroclash” band. It was crazy. Wait where are you going.
5) Was LCD Soundsystem a poptimist rock band or a rockist pop band? What are they now? What will they be when they do an entire tour playing “Sound of Silver” in order before Arcade Fire plays “Funeral” in order? What will they be when James Murphy makes his “Lulu” with My Chemical Romance?
6) 5 years ago we were very concerned about “instant nostalgia” and the shrinking of the nostalgia gap. It happened in the early 90s too. Maybe it’s an inevitable by-product of turning over the calendars on the decade we’re nostalgic for. Or maybe things were just different back then.
7) If the old do not continually inform the young of how great the past was, the advantage of having lived in the past decreases sharply, bringing the cultural value of being old close to zero. Nostalgia is a productive, creative force. It is also a tax the old impose on the young.