LCD Soundsystem: This is Happening (DFA/Virgin) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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LCD Soundsystem

This is Happening


May 24, 2010 Issue #31 - Spring 2010 - Joanna Newsom Bookmark and Share

After making Sound of Silver, one of those extraordinarily rare recordings in which the first listen thrills and the hundredth and two hundredth reveal new pleasures, James Murphy absolutely crushes the follow up, placing him on the shortlist of artists that truly matter.

As finely assembled and charming as Sound of Silver, This is Happening also creates the same level of anticipation with each track; whatever's around the corner is almost infinitely more interesting than what's already transpired. Somehow Murphy not only lives up to this self-imposed pressure, he revels in it. Each dip and twirl and change of pace clears the way for something even more exciting. It's roller coaster music.

"Drunk Girls" opens as an '80s call-and-response space jam, seemingly painting itself into a corner with its repetitiveness (a Murphy specialty), before breaking loose, all in less than four tidy minutes. Elsewhere he gives himself more roomall the better to build tension withsuch as the glorious nine-minute "Dance Yourself Clean," which begins with some quiet vocals, "It happens all the time" and then goes nuclear, in the most danceable way possible.

"Change" features a deceptively simple chorus and melody, but Murphy spices things up as time moves along, adding slight changes and small splashes of sound. Murphy's ability to bend pop music to his will enables him to get away with lyrics that would make a lesser musician wilt. "Change," being a relatively simple love song (and featuring some of Murphy's most luscious singing, it should be noted) has more than its fair share of such lines, many of them featuring Murphy's carpe diem fascination, "And love is a murderer/But if she calls you tonight/Everything is alright."

Rumor has it Murphy will put the LCD Soundsystem name to bed after this record, which will be sad if it's the case, but far from tragic. A phenomenal trilogy of albums lies in its wake, and Murphy will shine no matter what name's slapped on the label. (

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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Claire M.
May 28th 2010

I think this is the first 9 that Under the Radar has given out that I’ve ever seen…....This might just persuade me to head out and buy the album….