first impressions: lcd soundsystem – this is happening

*this first impression has been brought to you by one james motherf*cking murphy, who is streaming his latest opus in its entirety over at the lcd soundsystem website RIGHT NOW.

this is it, y’all. james murphy is about to release his new and supposedly final album as lcd soundsystem in a few short weeks. can’t say i blame him for quitting while he’s ahead. after all, most artists spend their whole careers trying to craft one musical masterpiece. It can’t be easy to make (depending on who you ask) three of them, let alone in a row. i had even started to fear that fatigue had already set in with the debut of new single, “drunk girls,” which like “north american scum” before it felt like a comparatively meh single for single’s sake (not that i hate either song. i just think murphy is at his weakest when he winks too hard). after hearing this is happening from start to finish, however, i realized my fear was not only premature, but completely unfounded and downright blasphemous. not only is happening a worthy successor to 2007’s decade-trumping sound of silver, it may eventually become its equal. maybe even its superior. too soon to tell yet, but this is good stuff. the songs pay homage to murphy’s influences without depending on them. they’re longer but more layered and rewarding as you discover more details with each listen. if this is indeed murphy’s last hurrah, it’s one hell of a bon voyage bash.

more immediate observations after the jump…

  • opener “dance yrself clean” is barely, deceptively audible for the first three minutes (think of the way pj harvey would trick you into turning up the volume in your ears only to ambush you in rid of me) before blossoming into what sounds like a mash-up of deep cuts era knife and silent shout era knife. with added cowbell. a great start.
  • like “north american scum” on the album prior, “drunk girls” remains the slightest track here, yet is recolored and enhanced by its placement in the overall puzzle. imagine the song a dj uses to get everyone on the floor before spinning the really good stuff. it builds and sustains anticipation for what comes next.
  • “one touch” renders the entire last juan maclean album obsolete in less than eight minutes.
  • the chewy, gooey center of the album, like it’s predecessor, will probably prove to be a lot of people’s favorite pair of tracks. “all i want” is the propulsive, bowie/eno reflection in the vein of “all my friends” while “i can change” echoes “someone great’s” patient pulse, refreshing its sense of elegy with a lyric seeking love and redemption.
  • “pow pow” has live favorite written all over it. all onomatopoeia and beats and dancefloor ramblings.
  • though it lacks the house-crashing drama of “new york, i love you,” closer “home” still carries a welcome finality to it, both for the album and the lcd discography, as murphy waxes and wanes on finally heading home and calling it a night over a bubbly talking heads rhythm.

in other words, murphy’s sound of silver has matured into solid gold. like any good swan song (rare as such a thing is these days), it ends the story with a bang, and leaves listeners wanting more without needing it. don’t take it from me though. go listen. go buy it. go see him live while you can. and while we’re on that topic, PLAY PHILLY JAMES! i’ll come to new york if i have to, but you’re bringing me down.


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2 Responses to “first impressions: lcd soundsystem – this is happening”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Well said, this album is sounding amazing. I hope it’s not ::really:: their final album. That’d be a bummer.




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