By Sidnie Paisley Thomas, Staff Writer
LCD Soundsystem’s “New Body Rhumba” encapsulates the apocalyptic funk of the film White Noise, for which it was written. The band builds on its classic house music and rock roots to make a song that tells the listener an important message over a fun, psychedelic beat.
DIVING INTO THE SOUND OF “NEW BODY RHUMBA”
“New Body Rhumba” immediately encapsulates you in its fun groovy rhythm with lively synths and a bass that persists throughout. It’s the type of song that makes you want to jump on your bed and play along with an air guitar. The high-pitched vocals paired with a persistent snare drum in the background make any listener feel like a rockstar.
As the seven-minute song progresses, the intensity of the instrumentals rise to match James Murphy's intense and desperate vocals. The song holds your attention until the very end with a loud crescendo of guitar and drums that attempt to drown out Murphy's vocals. However, his powerful voice rises above them to ensure you hear his message.
DECIPHERING THE LYRICS
At the beginning of each verse, Murphy sings “I need a new body, I need a new body.” Following each time is his reasoning for this desire. Some reasons listed include wanting “a little bit of tone and shape” and “to represent [his] needs.”
His yearning for a new body sounds like nothing more than paranoia at first. And his ability to not sleep alone just sounds like a symptom of his mental state. He then goes on to describe his need for a new body like a dog that’s been left at home by its owners. What at first sounded like paranoia now reads as a yearning for something more than him, and the need to belong.
As the song progresses he begins to turn the blame for this misplacement on something bigger. “The ransom and defense, has drained us with their expense,” he sings. His feelings are a rejection of modern society, as they’ve drained him of who he used to be.
“Chipped and then devised, Tagged, and rinsed for lice” — Murphy attributes his need for a new body as a result of a loss of self, taken from him by monotonous daily life. The only way he can regain himself is through a “new body,” a rebirth of himself without the confines of society.
The song culminates with him progressing from warning us “Don’t go to the light,” to instructing us to “Go into the light.” He ultimately encourages the listener to let go of their societal forms and seek a new body of their own.
THE SONG’S RELATION TO THE MOVIE WHITE NOISE
LCD Soundsystem wrote “New Body Rhumba” for Noah Baumbach's upcoming film White Noise. The film follows a suburban family evacuating their town after an airborne toxic event renders their neighborhood unlivable.
While having a heavy subject matter, White Noise still carries a fun and comedic tone. The dysfunctional family cracks jokes all through the trailer, even in scenes where most would be terrified. The focus of the movie stems from the father of the family, a professor at a local university who believes he should be able to solve this catastrophic event.
Like the song, the overarching tone of the film is upbeat, while underneath we can see the protagonist struggle with his sense of self in relation to his family and society. “New Body Rhumba” is a perfect encapsulation of how this movie will feel to the audience and serves as a great guide on how it should be viewed. Although it’s upbeat and comedic, the message is clear and important for everyone to hear.
Noah Baumbach's White Noise featuring LCD Soundsystem's “New Body Rhumba” is in select theaters November 25th, and available to stream on Netflix on December 3rd. “New Body Rhumba” is available to listen to on all streaming services now. It marks LCD Soundsystem's first piece of original music released in over five years.
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