LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge

LCD Soundsystem
Year :
Hot Chip / Daft Punk / Holy Ghost!

I am a frequent reader of the website Quora. Quora is a sort of Q&A site, ostensibly created to discuss topics of all kinds. In reality, though, it’s populated primarily by lots of Silicon Valley types asking very Silicon Valley-ish questions. There are many, many questions about running startups, though, so it’s a particularly interesting read for someone such as myself (I run a website afterall). The unique value of Quora is that, unlike a website like Yahoo Answers, it seems to attract people who are actually qualified to answer the questions posed (users’ profiles are tied to their real identity, much like a social network).

Recently, I came across a question that rattled me in a way that I really, really did not want to be rattled. And by “rattled,” I mean “made me want to throw myself from a moving vehicle.” “What do people in Silicon Valley plan to do once they hit 35 and are officially over the hill?”

Having just hit 30, the question struck a nerve. It was just a few short months ago that I had launched this very website. As far as the web world was concerned, I was already in my twilight years.

It got me thinking about LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge,” the now classic track from their self-titled 2005 debut. “Losing My Edge” is a kind of smirking yet resigned look at the nature of aging in a young man’s game, disguised as a hipster pissing contest. Singer James Murphy laments “The kids are coming up from behind” before ultimately concluding:

I’m losing my edge
to better looking people
with better ideas
and more talent

It’s a painful realization that has more than a kernel of truth to it. At a recent conference I attended, someone half jokingly mentioned that in 10 years they wouldn’t be qualified for their own job. In reality, it’s closer to five years. And, in an industry where the currency is cool (pop music) five years is a lifetime. In essence, “Losing My Edge” is like a grand workplace drama compressed into a few short minutes. It’s about the constant pressure to perform, the ever-evolving nature of work itself, and the ever-present danger of being supplanted by a younger, better, “more relevant” version of yourself. It’s a profound motivator to always be learning and to keep getting better at one’s craft—but damn if it doesn’t sting a bit.

Am I neurotic to be worried about this at 30? Maybe. But, “Losing My Edge,” provides a salve even as it opens psychological wounds. The song was initially released as a single in 2002 when James Murphy would have been around 32 years old. LCD Soundsystem wouldn’t be released until 2005 (age 35) and the band would have an incredible five year run before packing it in. In other words, I’ve still got a few years left to pull it together. In other, other words, wisdom and experience still count for something too. Here’s hoping I still feel that way at 40.

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(@YahSureMan) is the Founder of The Daily Soundtrack and Bark Attack Media. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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