15 Songs That Saved James Murphy’s Life

For a guy who made his name on a single that served as a Hipster Listening Guide checklist, this list of songs that “Saved [James Murphy’s] LIfe” is refreshingly within the realm of possibly-already-being-in-your-iTunes. Then, the alchemy of LCD and James Murphy’s taste profile was less about his reference points’ obscurity (obscure as some are) than the way he filtered and juxtaposed them. And so it stands to reason this list is impeccably curated and perfectly tasteful, running the post-disco gamut (from Loose Joints/Arthur Russell to the Rapture); paying homage to horizon-busting icons (Jonathan Richman, Mark E. Smith via the Fall, Nick Cave via the Birthday Party, Bowie); and drawing a bridge from NYC (Loose Joints, NYCC Choir, Suicide, Lou Reed & his Welsh/VU compatriot John Cale) to Germany (CAN, Kraftwerk). You’ve got Leonard Cohen for lyrics, A Flock Of Seagulls for haircuts, the Beatles because obviously, and Roberta Flack for closure (“The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” which he recently told GQ is the song he wants played at his funeral). Sensibility aside, though, the most perfectly James Murphy thing about this list of songs he made for a website called Ten Songs That Saved Your Life” is that it is 15 songs. Right? Here it is:

01 Jonathan Richman – “I’m Straight”
02 Suicide – “Cheree”
03 The Fall – “Paintwork”
04 The Rapture – “House Of Jealous Lovers”
05 CAN – “I’m So Green”
06 Leonard Cohen – “Famous Blue Raincoat”
07 David Bowie – “Fame”
08 A Flock Of Seagulls – “Space Age Love Song”
09 John Cale & Lou Reed – “Work”
10 NYCC Choir – “Stand On The Word”
11 Loose Joints – “Is It All Over My Face”
12 Birthday Party – “Nick The Stripper”
13 The Beatles – “Tomorrow Never Knows”
14 Kraftwerk – “Computer World”
15 Roberta Flack – “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”

Also in that GQ interview: “I’m a reactive person. Mark E. Smith is a generative person.” And, James is working on a novel. It’s a good read, read it.