Matt Wilson Formulates Your Opinions About Music: LCD Soundsystem, “This Is Happening”

I’m proud to say that the new record from James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem carries on the fine tradition of the previous two.

You may have by now heard the lead single from the album, “Drunk Girls,” which I hate to inform you is the worst track on the whole thing. It’s got a perfectly danceable up-tempo beat but ends up sounding a lot more like the closing music to a 1980s college slobs vs. snobs comedy than I would prefer. On the album itself, “Drunk Girls” also has the misfortune of following the disarmingly great opener, “Dance Yrself Clean,” which does all the things LCD Soundsystem does really well — great percussion, clever and affecting lyrics and a terrific slow build to a big loud clattering of terrific future-groove sound at the end.

Murphy still can’t really figure out whether he’d prefer to be a heartfelt balladeer, a self-deprecating and self-aware purveyor of detached hipster irony, or just a guy who yells a lot over breakbeats. So here, as he was on the (better, but not by too much) 2007 album Sound of Silver, he’s all three. (Speaking of Sound of Silver, the track “One Touch” sounds like it came right off of it.) Not that there’s anything wrong with switching up moods, but it can be a little disorienting when you go from a pair of very sincere songs (the rocking “All I Want,” and “I Can Change”) to three self-referential, laugh-out-loud-when-you-catch-the lyrics types of tunes (“You Wanted a Hit,” “Pow Pow” and “Somebody’s Calling Me”) and then snapping right back to a pretty ballad to close out everything (“Home”).

But Murphy and group manage to make the sincere-then-detached-then-sincere dichotomy work through just plain great songcraft and some unmistakably catchy beats. Whether he’s tugging your heartstrings or tickling your funnybone, James Murphy’s going to make your feet move.

You: Think it’ll probably be in your top five this year.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>