Friday, May 7, 2010

Album Review: LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Thank goodness for James Murphy and the many seasons of his discontent. Were it not for his multitudinous complaints about life in the scene, my music collection (and probably yours, too) would definitely be missing a certain something. You might give me the stink eye here, but in my humble opinion This Is Happening is the best LCD Soundsystem album to date. It’s got everything you could want and expect from Mr. Murphy, and then some. It’s pretty much the best dance music for the disaffected you could ask for.

I must say that initially I was a little worried about this one. After all, opening track “Dance Yrself Clean” certainly takes a while to develop. It’s pretty darn basic for over three of its eight minutes and fifty-eight seconds, though the biting lyrical wit that we all know and love is present from the beginning. But eventually those big beats kick in, and all is well. “Drunk Girls,” perfect single material, follows and is hilariously perfect. “Drunk girls are boring me wild,” croons Murphy, as the beat swirls and pounds around him. If you’re not already hearing it at those indie rock dance nights, well, color me shocked.

Always difficult to choose a favorite on LCD Soundsystem records, right this very minute I’d say track four, otherwise known as “All I Want,” is my fave. It’s in the same vein as songs like “All My Friends” and “Someone Great,” epically long and sweeping in scale. It’s another LCD relationship song, and naturally things aren’t going so well. But that just means it’s fantastic. It’s hypnotic, and I’ve already listened to it more times than I can count. Hot damn, it’s a good song. “I Can Change,” which immediately follows, is sort of LCD through an 80s lense. The beats are more than a little Atari-fied, and I keep getting images of Murphy sporting Flock of Seagulls hair whenever I listen to this song.

“You Wanted A Hit” is another absolutely brilliant song, musical influences perhaps coming from bad karate flicks and a wonderful, dizzying swirl. Taking direct, sarcastic aim at the industry (“You wanted a hit/but that’s not what we do”), it’s a winner. “Pow Pow” is yet another quality track, with some of the best lines on the whole album (ex: “From this position/I totally get how the decision was reached,” “From this position/I can say serious or cop out or hard to define,” “Oh eat it, Michael Musto,” and “Tonight is our night/so you should give us all of your drugs”). Also helping add to the overall charm of the song are those choruses, much like those on “North American Scum,” featuring a slightly bratty chick singing along. It’s totally amusing and totally undeniable. Which is how I feel about this entire record.

If loving this here record is wrong, well I don’t wanna be right. It’s a damn fine dance album, and without question has some of the best lyrics you’ll hear all year. It’s funny and sad and way more poignant than you’ll want to admit. And I love it.


mp3: All I Want (LCD Soundsystem from This Is Happening)

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