You Wanted a Hit – Dissecting the Anthem of Industry Defiance


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for LCD Soundsystem's You Wanted a Hit at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Rebellion Against Radio-Friendly Demand
  5. Disillusionment with ‘The Real’ in Music
  6. Unmasking the Pretense of Intellectualism
  7. The Hidden Meaning: Infantilization of Artists
  8. Picking Apart the Most Memorable Lines

Lyrics

You wanted a hit
But maybe we don’t do hits
I try and try
It ends up feeling kind of wrong

You wanted it tough
But is it ever tough enough?
No, nothing’s ever tough enough
Until we hit the road

Yeah, you wanted it lush
But honestly, you must hush
No, honestly, you know too much
So leave us, leave us on our own

And so you wanted a hit
Well this is how we do hits
You wanted a hit
But that’s not what we do

You wanted it real
But can you tell me what’s real?
There’s lights and sounds and stories
Music’s just a part

Yeah, you wanted the truth
And then you said you want proof
I guess you’re used to liars
Saying what they want

And we won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies ’til you take us home
No, we won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies anymore
We can’t be your babies ’til you take us home

Yeah you wanted it smart
But honestly, I’m not smart
No, honestly, we’re never smart
We fake it, fake it all the time

Yeah you wanted the time
But maybe I can’t do time
Oh we both know that’s an awful line
But it doesn’t make it wrong

You wanted it right
No out of mind and out of sight
No dirty bus and early flight
No seven days and forty nights

Yeah you wanted a hit
But tell me, where’s the point in it?
You wanted a hit
But that’s not what we do

And we won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies ’til you take us home
No, we won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies anymore
We can’t be your babies ’til you take us home

And we won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies ’til you take us home
No, we won’t be your babies anymore
We won’t be your babies anymore
We can’t be your babies ’til you take us home

Full Lyrics

LCD Soundsystem’s ‘You Wanted a Hit’ has stood as a sonic monument within their discography, recognized both for its rhythmic allure and its defiant commentary on the music industry’s machinations. The track, seamlessly blending electronic beats with a punk ethos, functions as a narrative of opposition, wherein the band audaciously challenges the conventional expectations placed upon artists.

Tackling the realities of commercial pressure, authenticity, and the artist-audience relationship, this song manifests James Murphy’s critical outlook on the pervasive demand for commercial success at the expense of artistic integrity. Here, we delve deep into the layers of ‘You Wanted a Hit,’ unearthing the intricate messaging sewn within its hypnotic beats and seemingly straightforward lyrics.

The Rebellion Against Radio-Friendly Demand

At the core of ‘You Wanted a Hit’ is a potent resistance to the demand for commercially viable ‘hits.’ Murphy makes it abundantly clear from the outset – ‘But maybe we don’t do hits.’ This line serves not only as a rejection of the music industry’s relentless hit-chasing cycle but also as a statement of self-awareness. LCD Soundsystem has never been about conforming to the mainstream palate; instead, they’ve carved out a niche wherein they can explore uncharted sonic territories without allegiance to the charts.

The relentless repetition of ‘you wanted it tough,’ ‘you wanted it lush,’ and ‘you wanted it real’ reads as a mockery of the ever-changing, never-satisfied market demands. It’s the artist’s chagrin vocalized, where the drive for a hit becomes antithetical to the creative essence of music-making. With each line, Murphy dismantles the notion that commercial success should guide the artistic process.

Disillusionment with ‘The Real’ in Music

Murphy’s inquiry, ‘But can you tell me what’s real?’ strikes at the heart of the performative authenticity the industry so often parades. The song suggests that what’s packaged and sold as ‘real’ is nothing more than a curated set of ‘lights and sounds and stories.’ LCD Soundsystem underlines the irony in how the pursuit of something raw and unfiltered is itself a manufactured desire.

This critique isn’t just reserved for the industry executives but extends towards the audience as well. There’s a deliberate provocation in ‘honestly, you must hush,’ pointing to a culture where consumers believe they’re entitled to both determine and possess the ‘real.’ Murphy effectively captures the paradox of the ‘real’ in the entertainment world: a concept solemnly sought after yet routinely distorted.

Unmasking the Pretense of Intellectualism

The brash confession ‘But honestly, I’m not smart’ from ‘You Wanted a Hit’ emphasizes the song’s anti-pretense stance. Here, LCD Soundsystem acknowledges the pretentious air that can imbue the music scene, where intellectualism becomes another product to sell. By openly admitting to faking smarts, they reject the grandioise aura of the so-called music elite.

But this line doesn’t just serve to confess their own feigned intellect; it sets a mirror before the audience, challenging them to face their own complicity in the intellectual charade. The band recognizes the cyclical nature of the issue: fans demand cerebral music, and artists, spurred by the industry, supply that demand with an often disingenuous finesse.

The Hidden Meaning: Infantilization of Artists

Perhaps most striking is the refrain ‘We won’t be your babies anymore,’ which marks a recurrent theme throughout the song. It reveals the hidden meaning: the infantilization of artists by record labels and audiences who expect musicians to comply obediently with commercial expectations. This nursery-rhyme repetition becomes a chant for emancipation from the patronizing grip of the industry.

Murphy’s pointed inclusion of ’til you take us home’ juxtaposes the notion of childish dependency with a call for respect and agency. It’s not just about rebellion; it’s about maturation and recognition. Artists seek to move beyond the role of dependent infants and reposition themselves as equals in the creative journey shared with their audiences and labels.

Picking Apart the Most Memorable Lines

‘But that’s not what we do,’ Murphy asserts, following the titular phrase, which effectively serves as the song’s beating heart. This declaration is not just a throwaway line; it reverberates with the pride of a band steadfast in their musical ethos. It’s a mantra for artistic autonomy, a reminder that true artistry isn’t about succumbing to trends or sales charts.

Furthermore, the sarcastic edge of ‘Oh we both know that’s an awful line / But it doesn’t make it wrong’ encapsulates the song’s theme in its entirety. It’s an acknowledgment of the sometimes clumsy, imperfect nature of songwriting colliding with the pursuit of commercial appeal. These lines encourage listeners to embrace the flawed and human elements of music, rather than the polished facades often sold as hits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...