"This Is Happening" by LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening

DFA Records
2010

Review

I had promised a full review of this bad boy months ago to no avail. It wasn't for lack of desire. This album was one of the most impressive not just in its own "genre" but of any release. And here I am sleeping on it. Well, sorry about that. The last time I had listened to this, I was getting over my MGMT shock. I need to give that one a few more listens as well since I'm not sure I really gave it a fair shake. But as I said about LCD Soundsystem in the "Streaming Dat", "Holy shit this is good".

Not good enough, how about some more hyperbole?

"The feel-good dance/rock smash of the summer."

"Your party won't be a party without it."

(btw - you can still stream this bad boy for gratis here, so go do that).

As I listened to this album, there were many moments when I couldn't help but think of this as a more accessible version of something that the Gorillaz would put out (btw, I think LCD Soundsystem should produce the next Gorillaz album. Consider "I Can Change" the demo). Essentially you have Rock sensibilities coupled with Pop-like melodies and accented by Electronic elements. Neo-Talking Heads (see: "Dance Yourself Clean" slow burning goodness that has a nice Gabriel Byrne-like delivery and takes an incredible turn at the end that is just ill)? Definitely, there are blends of lots of stuff that I love. You've probably already heard "Drunk Girls" and that song still reminds me A LOT of Blur's "Girls and Boys" crossed with some "Queens of the Stone Age" (with the bassline from "Material Girl"), but hey...great artists steal, no?

I think the most successful songs here are the ones that cater to that Rock/Pop with Electric Accents formula; It's on the more rock-influenced songs that Mr. Murphy shines the most. "All I Want" is evidence of that. It is just such a better song than something like "One Touch" (which steps into Hot-Chip territory by being a little too silly). Granted, it maintains enough of the electronic elements to stand out as more than just a standard rock song, but that's what you want is for the artist to take influences from different genres and make them their own. He's not really breaking new ground lyrically:

All I want is your pity
And all I want are your bitter tears
Now all I want is your pity
And all I want are your bitter tears

...but it all comes together quite nicely even with the Morissey-approved lyrics.

My favorite track on this album by far is "You Wanted A Hit". Listening to this at 3:27 am, I found that it is the perfect song for 3:27 am. - even from just the introductory part, before the guitars come in...but then the guitars come in...then the claps...then the words:

You wanted a hit
But maybe we don't do hits
I try and try
It ends up feeling kind of wrong

Then later,

There's life, there's sounds, there's stories. Music's just a part

Coming in at a close second is "Pow Pow" which is the song equivalent of the phrase "less qq and more pew pew" (see, because it's all "pow pow"). Besides, I just love a sense of fun in my Poppy music, and "Pow Pow" has it.

When the rock/pop influence is evident, you can't beat this sound when it comes to fun (it might even make you dance if you are so inclined). "One Touch" and "Somebody's Calling Me" move away from that, but hey that's Ok. The rest of this is golden sonic goodness. It's not a bad thing to wear your influences on your sleeve or to sound like someone else as long as you put enough of an original spin on it to make it your own...and LCD Soundsystem does just that. Now go stream this! Or even better, buy it! Support the people you like, they need food and clothes and shelter and stuff.

4.000 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Dance Yrself Clean (08:58) 5
2. Drunk Girls (03:44) 5
3. One Touch (07:47) 3
4. All I Want (06:43) 3
5. I Can Change (05:54) 4
6. You Wanted a Hit (09:12) 5
7. Pow Pow (08:25) 4
8. Somebody’s Calling Me (06:55) 3
9. Home (07:53) 4