New York Series: LCD Soundsystem ‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’

So the boring collect, I mean all disrespect

There may not be a more love-hate city in the world than New York. It is referred to as the “city of dreams,” but some dreams turn out to be nightmares. If you did not grow up in one of the boroughs it is easy to give the city a halo effect, believing that anything you do in Manhattan will be immensely better than anywhere else. However, that is not always the case, and people who move to New York believing it is will quickly become disappointed. While it’s a great city, one of the best in the world depending on your criteria, having unrealistic expectations about any area will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth once you spend enough time there. “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” by LCD Soundsystem is a wishful lament to New York’s current conditions and illustrates the band’s hazy relationship with the city that never sleeps.

James Murphy, the singer and primary writer of the song, grew up in a New Jersey suburb about an hour south of the city, and like many other suburban youths, he always had a grand fascination with New York. Growing up, his view of New York was through rose colored glasses, believing that the city was a crude, savage place where anything could happen and the weirder you were the better the chance you had of succeeding. While that may have been the case during Murphy’s youth, things have changed significantly since the 1970s and 80s, and he feels as though he missed the “Golden Age” of New York.

“During my favorite era of music, I was too young or non-existent,” Murphy said. “When I look at 1968 to ’74, watching everything getting turned upside down, and record companies run by weirdos, and genuinely strange music becoming hits…” 

In “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” Murphy spills his soul about how New York has negatively changed, in his point of view, but expresses that, despite these changes, he still loves the city in many ways. Murphy’s biggest qualms about New York are all centered around gentrification and how cleaned up the city has become compared to how it was when his heroes like Lou Reed or Andy Warhol left their mark. He views the city as becoming too expensive and “clean” for his liking, and that because the city became a safe, wealth-driven metropolis, it has suffered to produce raw art and the wild times he imagined he would experience.

The song is played over a cabaret-style piano, and builds to an intense peak, much like how the mind starts to think before it gets worked up about something. He thumbs his nose at the city and the life he lives, but eventually concludes at the epiphany that maybe New York is actually alright the way it is. He questions himself and begins to backtrack on what he says, because despite how many issue he has with the city, he realizes the copious amount of benefits there are to living there. While he may never know if he is right or wrong to question New York, he doesn’t want to take the risk of leaving and realizing how good he had it.

‘New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’ Lyrics:

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

Like a rat in a cage
Pulling minimum wage

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

New york, you’re safer
And you’re wasting my time

Our records all show
You are filthy but fine

But they shuttered your stores
When you opened the doors
To the cops who were bored
Once they’d run out of crime

New york, you’re perfect
Don’t please don’t change a thing

Your mild billionaire mayor’s
Now convinced he’s a king

So the boring collect
I mean all disrespect

In the neighborhood bars
I’d once dreamt I would drink

New york, I love you
But you’re freaking me out

There’s a ton of the twist
But we’re fresh out of shout

Like a death in the hall
That you hear through your wall

New york, I love you
But you’re freaking me out

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

Like a death of the heart
Jesus, where do I start?

But you’re still the one pool
Where I’d happily drown

And oh.. take me off your mailing list
For kids that think it still exists
Yes, for those who think it still exists

Maybe I’m wrong
And maybe you’re right
Maybe I’m wrong
And myabe you’re right

Maybe you’re right
Maybe I’m wrong
And just maybe you’re right

And oh..
Maybe mother told you true
And they’re always be something there for you
And you’ll never be alone

But maybe she’s wrong
And maybe I’m right
And just maybe she’s wrong

Maybe she’s wrong
And maybe I’m right
And if so, is there?

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