New Music Week (Tuesday May 18th, 2010)

18 May

LCD Soundsystem

This is Happening

DFA/Virgin

Rating: 8.5/10

“This is Happening” sounds a lot like a typical LCD Soundsystem album meant for dancing. The electricity of the music and the eccentricity of James Murphy are repetitive yet mind-numbingly fun. Expect classic booty-shaking drum beats (“Pow Pow Pow”), 9-minute mood swings and a lot of New Order references.

The album starts off with a little mysterious down-tempo “Dance Yrself Clean”, until Murphy hits the three-minute mark. Cue electro jamming with that little haggard Murphy spark that moves against the throbbing crotch of a signature LCD Soundsystem jam. As the Vietnamese say, “Same Same but Different”: that’s what this album is; similar in production, but different in feeling and emotion.

The single “Drunk Girls” is questionable for its lyrical substance a la commercial hip hop (see: “Drunk n Hot Girls” by Kanye West). “One Touch”, on the other hand, records an elevating conversation between members of Devo and the Chemical Brothers at a French dance party. Could this be the beginning of a new rave era? Or is Murphy coming out with his own version of a post-punk apocalypse? Whether it’s a beginning or an end, I don’t know, but it fits in fine with the self-titled “LCD Soundsystem” and “Sound of Silver”.

Murphy records distance between people: “One touch is never enough”, he drones introspectively. “I can change, if it will help you fall in love with me”, he croons as he seems to examine his past mistakes. These tracks represent emotional detachment which may fit in with Murphy’s reports of this being the final LCD Soundsystem album. But when a song like “Somebody’s Calling Me” comes out, I just want more, more, more. The song is out of tune like a Shaggs song, like David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits having a doped out conversation in a hazy, melting room filled with clowns.

“You wanted a hit”, Murphy goes on, “but maybe we don’t do hits”. Murphy’s middle finger to the music industry signifies his move away from LCD Soundsystem, bitterly aware, ripe with irony – think John Lurie in Stranger than Paradise.

The album has a repeatable quality perfect for house parties entangled with punk and kraut lovers, Bowie admirers and creeping electro beats a la the Knife. It’s a feel-good album, suitable for day or night. It’s easy to find something beautiful and great in this album. The genius is all in the details.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

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One Response to “New Music Week (Tuesday May 18th, 2010)”

  1. erin May 18, 2010 at 3:29 PM #

    eek, i wrote “sounds of silver” instead of “sound of silver”. if you could change that, it would be awesome!

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