LCD Soundsystem have released a cover of Heaven 17’s ”(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang,” recorded live at Electric Lady Studios. It’s the first advance track from LCD’s Electric Lady Sessions, due out later this year via Columbia Records/DFA.
The original “Fascist Groove Thang” was released in 1981 by British new-wave band Heaven 17, and it addressed the rise of right-wing governments in that decade. It focused in on Reagan—in fact, the song was banned by the BBC out of fear of libel charges—but other far-right politicians were included in that gaze, if not by name specifically. It was a desperate song for what appeared to be desperate times. If only they knew.
LCD doesn’t change much here, because they don’t need to. Just check the lyrics: “Evil men with racist views / Spreading all across the land,” or “History will repeat itself / Crisis point we’re near the hour.” It was recorded almost 40 years ago by a band from across the ocean, but somehow it’s still relevant, because of course it is. It’s not that Heaven 17 were all that prescient—it’s more that we as a country so easily forget our past.
The only change here is, naturally, the lyrics about Reagan—”Democrats are out of power / Across that great wide ocean / Orange man’s president elect / Fascist god in motion,” goes the verse. It makes the whole moment that much more damning, because really, how bad would Reagan be right now? And he’s the one who inspired the song. It might be tempting to see LCD’s version as a “get-out-the-vote” anthem, and it very well could be, but it feels more desperate than that, or maybe more beat-down. Do we really need a remake of a song to remind people how often leaders flirt with fascism? Apparently.
Listen to ”(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” and a 2007 LCD performance from the Paste archives below.