How it starts: a percussive, Steve Reich–haunted piano line, banged out over and over. Then one layer and then another—an echoing sixteenth-beat drum part (grafted from the Joy Division playbook), a keening guitar strand, James Murphy’s voice building to an anxious shout. The song is all urgency and slow-burning panic. You’re not sure how to put this urgency into words, and neither is the song, but both of you know exactly what this feels like: it feels like the lost intensity of early-20s friendships, dissipated by jobs and mates and kids; it feels like the lost promise of a fabled carefree youth that you know looks beautiful only from afar; it feels like you’ve lost the person you imagined you’d be and wasted the person you were; and it feels like—and this is where the moral kicks in, and the hope, and maybe the drugs—you still have time to make it up, start a new plan, accept, reverse course or whatever you need to do to become what you are, and you can do it, but you just have to answer this one question: Where are your friends tonight?
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