Watch the Tapes – Deciphering the Dance-Punk Anthem


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for LCD Soundsystem's Watch the Tapes at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Syncopated Rhythm of Youthful Discontent
  5. A Sarcastic Salvo on Empty Commitment
  6. A Siren’s Call to the Sinking: Hidden Meanings Unveiled
  7. Memorable Lines That Echo in the Collective Consciousness
  8. LCD Soundsystem’s Provocation: When the Music Stops

Lyrics

Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
I get all confused when you mix up the dates
Whoa

Don’t gimme the pretend you come for the weekend
And you stay for the week
You say that you hate it but that’s how you made it
Just to keep it oblique
We’re both high high high, high high on lemon sips
We’re all suh-suh-suh sucked-in-by parlour tricks

Oh the people deceive you the kids never leave
‘Cause you make them at home
You try to appease them and they show you the stick
But still you pick up the phone
But hey man, you can take it
As long as they don’t shove you out in the cold
It’s not getting better, no it’s not getting better, man
It’s just getting old
Ah ooh, we do what we’re programmed to do
Hey we do what we’re told

Ah ooh ooh

I never remember to carry my book when I get on the bus
You never forget it’s your time to collect
When they are making a fuss
We’re both high high high, high high on lemon sips
We’re all high high high, high high on wiggling hips
And ah ooh, you break off your plans for the weekend
And ah ohh, you can tell them the dates
But that don’t mean they’re letting you go

Ah ooh ooh
Go
Ah ooh ooh

Don’t gimme the pretend you come for the weekend
And you stay for the year
Avoid all the plans cause we’re making our day jobs
Into a steady career
We’re both high high high, high high on lemon sips
We all claw claw claw, cli-climb-on to sinking ships
And ah ooh, avoid all the cold sideways glances
And ah ooh, celebrate, celebrate, celebrate
And then turn to stone

Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
You turn twenty-five and now you’re all out of escapes, c’mon

Hey the rock writer told me to tell you
“Though you’re great and you’re brave
You still lack that which makes you a star”

Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes
We all get a little drunk and then we act like apes
Ow

Full Lyrics

LCD Soundsystem has always been a musical act with a flair for blending the raucous energy of punk with the infectious rhythms of dance music, all while delivering poignant social commentary. ‘Watch the Tapes’, a deep cut from their 2007 album ‘Sound of Silver’, is no exception to this rule.

In this dissection, we’ll peel back the layers of ‘Watch the Tapes’, exploring its lyrical content, punchy delivery, and the hidden meanings that resonate with the ethos of millennial dissatisfaction and the struggles of adapting to a system that one inherently disagrees with.

The Syncopated Rhythm of Youthful Discontent

From the get-go, ‘Watch the Tapes’ pummels the listener with a driving beat and James Murphy’s distinctive vocal delivery. The repetition of ‘Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes’ serves as a metaphor for the bombardment of media, advice, and information that people consume in an attempt to better navigate life.

The lyrical loop acts as an ironic reminder that despite all the information at our fingertips, we remain confused, overwhelmed, and often misled, pointedly expressed with the line ‘I get all confused when you mix up the dates.’

A Sarcastic Salvo on Empty Commitment

Murphy cleverly uses the guise of a failing relationship to critique society’s habit of feigned interest and half-hearted engagements with ‘Don’t gimme the pretend you come for the weekend / And you stay for the week.’ This line resonates with our culture’s tendency towards noncommittal practices, both in our personal lives and societal roles.

By framing this message within the context of a relationship, the song suggests a broader dissatisfaction with the tendency to ‘stay for the year,’ embodying the struggle against settling into complacency and routine.

A Siren’s Call to the Sinking: Hidden Meanings Unveiled

The core of ‘Watch the Tapes’ lies in its obscure and cryptic allusions to the traps of modern existence. When Murphy waxes lyrical about ‘lemon sips’ and ‘parlour tricks,’ there’s a sense that he’s condemning the superficial comforts and distractions that pacify the masses.

As LCD Soundsystem delves into the conflicted psyche, phrases like ‘We all claw claw claw, cli-climb-on to sinking ships’ reveal an unsettling awareness of participating in a flawed system, yet feeling unable to escape its inevitable collapse.

Memorable Lines That Echo in the Collective Consciousness

The abrupt declaration ‘You turn twenty-five and now you’re all out of escapes’ captures a monumental moment of realization for the post-college generation facing the real world without the safety net of youth.

Furthermore, the song doesn’t shy away from the gritty reality faced by aspiring artists, as Murphy sardonically relays advice from ‘the rock writer’ who, despite recognizing talent and courage, coldly states ‘You still lack that which makes you a star.’

LCD Soundsystem’s Provocation: When the Music Stops

Throughout ‘Watch the Tapes’, LCD Soundsystem lays out a sonic playground that invites listeners to dance, all while slipping in lyrical cynicism about the state of being. Herein lies the genius of Murphy’s approach: using the trojan horse of infectious music to deliver biting cultural critiques.

‘We all get a little drunk and then we act like apes’ brings the song full circle, painting a vivid, perhaps all-too-relatable, image of escapism and acting out. It’s a bleak yet honest reflection on collective human behavior, anchoring an anthem that will have you thinking long after the dance is over.

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