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A Blogulator Special Report: Compare and Contrast LCD Soundsystem and Ke$ha

It's spring here in Minnesota, which means it is time to start thinking about music that makes you shake your non-bundled-up-from-the-cold-weather booty. With that said, there are two records that, as a music fan, you are likely going to give a chance. One of those records, you'll probably hear about quite a bit from whichever source of recommendations you utilize the most, while the other one you'll probably sample in the quiet of the night when you're all alone and no one can look upon you in shame while you do so, you hipster you.

But don't let hipster cred stop you from fully exploring all dancin' options available out there. Sure, LCD Soundsystem is undeniably hip, occasionally catchy, arty, and will earn you the most cred out there. However, Ke$ha, the newest megastar pop artist, is constantly catchy and constantly addictive. To decide which new record should be your official Summer 2010 record, allow me to compare and contrast Ke$ha's debut album Animal and LCD Soundsystem's third LP This is Happening.

Compare:
-Both records want you to consume controlled substances. Ke$ha's hit single "Tik Tok" suggests that one should brush one's teeth with Jack Daniels. LCD Soundsystem's not-quite-hit-yet single "Drunk Girls" waxes philosophical about what "drunk girls" can do vs. what "drunk boys" can do. It's true -- to have a party, according to dance music, you gotta get down with the controlled substances. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just saying that it's what they ask one to do.

Both records alternate between raucous dance numbers and introspective ballads.
Ke$ha's record kicks off with a rockin' first four tracks, "Your Love is My Drug", "Tik Tok", "Take It Off", and "Kiss and Tell", before launching into the Postal Service-esque "Stephen". James Murphy and Co., meanwhile, use a similar technique with "All I Want", a track that attempts to recapture the magic of Sound of Silver track "All My Friends" with mixed results.

Both records are, generally, self-aware. The aforementioned line about brushing one's teeth "with a bottle of Jack (Daniels)" has been referenced by Ke$ha in interviews as her attempt to be humorous. LCD Soundsystem is known for its self-aware hipster cred and its references of other hip bands (i.e. "Daft Punk is Playing at My House").



Contrast:
LCD Soundsystem is self-consciously "fun," while Ke$ha is just plain fun. One issue I do take with LCD Soundsystem's work in general is how, for the most part, their music makes you feel somewhat ashamed for wanting to dance. Ke$ha(*) does not make you feel ashamed. She commands that you go to a place "where they go hardcore / and there's glitter on the floor" on third track "Take It Off".
(*)I just never get tired of spelling her name "K-E-Dollar Sign-H-A."

LCD Soundsystem wants you to bob your head, while Ke$ha wants you to party 'til you puke. Opening track "Dance Yrself Clean" on LCD Soundsystem's latest record takes 4-5 minutes to get into its dance groove, and even when it does, it more or less invites the listener to passively bob one's head, rather than get deep into it. Ke$ha, on the other hand, demands that you crank her record in the car, at a party, or on your iPod headphones while you're heading to work in the morning(**).
(**)Something I've done more than once in comparing and contrasting these two records.



In the end, which album you choose as your Official Summer Album of 2010 comes down to your personal preferences. Do you like to have hipster cred? Do you prefer to rock hard, or at least rock as hard as you can while riding the bus to your office job? Whether you choose LCD Soundsystem or Ke$ha this summer, don't be too ashamed to rock out in whichever fashion suits you best.

(Editor's note: The official Spike Jonze-directed video for Drunk Girls is now available. See below. Ah, Spike Jonze, you dog!)

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 11:48 AM |  

    You forgot to mention one big contrast: Ke$ha is hot.

  2. Blogger chris | 12:06 PM |  

    I have yet to listen to the rest of the LCD record (or the rest of the Ke$ha record, for that matter) but I really think "Drunk Girls" is an ugly song.

    That said, Sound of Silver is one of the best records of all time. But it probably should have been James Murphy's last attempt at dance music, cuz dude's getting old.

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