tfw is a mini personal essay series I’m try to do on Tuesdays to recount second-person experiences of feelings and experiences we all have. Or maybe I’m the only one who has them?
Like, they (James Murphy) said they (James Murphy) were quitting a few years ago and—Even then.—you were exhausted by the act and the fact that they (James Murphy) were doing a big send off show which was live streamed online which they (James Murphy) documented as a movie and an album which some people talked about and wrote about which was a very clear bon voyage, a ship sailing into the American Apparel sunset of success. It was the inevitable end to a band who created a song like “Losing My Edge” to lament the mainstreaming of a specific sound (dance music), of a place (New York City / Brooklyn), of a people (alt thirtysomethings in the early 2000s with access to big record collections). Everything was turned into an ideology. The singular became the mass.
You watched it all and you appreciated it but then you just stopped caring. “Go, grandpa,” you said because they (James Murphy) look like your grandfather. “You do your grandpa thing. You continue running your label and giving some interviews to Pitchfork: you do that.” You went on with your life and you forgot they (James Murphy) were a band and you were happy and you would hear a song of theirs (James Murphy’s) in a Target and go, “Huh. How funny! How far we’ve come from 2004.” You think about finishing high school and reading about the DFA Compilation, Vol. 2—which you borrowed your mom’s credit card to buy online because it wasn’t available at the Borders in your town—and that it shaped a specific musical time in your life. It was your “Sound Of Silence” for your pre-college Summer. “Do you want to wear the overcoat?” you would ask yourself. You would imagine leaving your office and putting on dresses and quitting jobs and getting jobs and being a career person, whatever that meant. “Yeah, yeah, yeah—yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” you say to yourself. You are pretentious and you are 18. Congratulations: you have succeeded in committing to the lifestyle presented in The Hipster Handbook.
They (James Murphy) helped with that. But, like all good things, it ended. First, for you: your tastes advanced and you found other things to occupy your ears and different people to talk to about the different things you were into. They (James Murphy) did the same, evolving from corners of Free Williamsburg and Stereogum and graduating to Rolling Stone and “record” racks at the front of Urban Outfitters. We made it! We all grew up. You and they (James Murphy). They (James Murphy) went on to become “North American Scum” and “Drunk Girls.” They (James Murphy) went on to make a big fucking deal of their going away and they went away and they kept poking from behind a curtain, hungry, like a teen anxious to post that next picture on Instagram or some sort of child texting you to look at that email they sent about looking at their Facebook, attempts to get more and more Likes and Comments and Analytics and Algorithms and Sales, Sales, Sales.
Then there is a teased reunion and you groan and you email friends, annoyed, and talk about how—even though it was rescinded—that it was a publicity stunt people are loving because they can intellectualize it. They (James Murphy) are hungry. They need to scratch that itch with the needle of some confusing drug that has frustrated you for years. They (James Murphy) release a Christmas song. Days later, they (James Murphy) are announced to go back on tour. To top it all off, the shit cherry is placed on their (James Murphy’s) shit Sunday for the entire world to see. “Look at my beautiful ass,” they (James Murphy) yells to an adoring Twitter population. “Trend me, hold me, love me, let me play at your house via live streams that will be broadcast all over the world and even in your pocket.” You can feel their (James Murphy’s) teeth chattering near you, ready to chomp on you and try to get your attention. They (James Murphy) keep trying to hold your hand and grab you. “Hey,” they (James Murphy) say. “Can you see me? Can you hear me? Are you paying attention to me?” You stare at streams on various stream streaming places and you glower and you are just so furious and annoyed and exhausted by their (James Murphy’s) dust dot in the dookie that has grown into a dookie diamond that every maybe-probably-new-parent are talking on and on and on about on Twitter.
So what do you do? You write about them (James Murphy) because you are fucking tired and you just really could give no fucks but it will seem like it is the goal of 2016 to let you know—Repeatedly.—that they (James Murphy) are at it again and are worthy of your attention. Dude. Aren’t you (James Murphy) tired? Give it up.
And then you spend the rest of the day, week, month, and year exhausted by yourself because now you are caught yourself in the swirling backlash they (James Murphy) caused.