For those who have waited five long years since LCD Soundsystem’s last record to hear a new song from a band so legendary and missed that it feels as though they released far more than just three albums, “Christmas Will Break Your Heart” has arrived barely in time for the season.
Like another Christmas song released this year, “Can’t Wait For Christmas” by Loose Tapestries, “Christmas Will Break Your Heart” turns the holiday music genre on its ear with the sort of modern resonance that is most assuredly missing from common staples like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” or Wham!’s “Last Christmas.” Expressing the depression and ennui that can befall a person–especially a New York City dweller–during the month of December, the song opens with the warning, “Christmas will break your heart if your world is feeling small/There’s no one on your phone you feel close enough to call.”
With one mere lyric, Murphy encapsulates the crippling loneliness of a twenty-first century sort, the kind who has opted out of marriage, children or remaining close to their immediate family–all categories that tend to apply when one moves to New York. In this manner, its content echoes the sentiments of another beloved LCD Soundsystem track, “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” Released in 2007 from the Sound of Silver album, the song tells of woes that present New York as a lovable city that tries each day to make you hate it–and usually succeeds. With “Christmas Will Break Your Heart,” the entity that is New York is replaced by Christmas, another thing that can either cause ultimate joy or unspeakable pain.
Just as New York is “the one pool where I’d happily drown” Murphy cedes, “Still, I’m coming home to you,” regardless of how much Christmas makes him feel the miserable emptiness of spending time with others. For as much as “Christmas can wreck your head, like some listless, awkward sex/So you refuse to leave your bed/Get depressed when no one checks,” it is, very much like New York, unavoidable and inevitable.