My Favorite Album: Lucy Dacus on LCD Soundsystem’s “This Is Happening” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024  

My Favorite Album: Lucy Dacus on LCD Soundsystem’s “This Is Happening”

"My initial impression was just, 'I have to dance. There's no option. I'm listening to this, I can't do anything but dance to it.'"

Jan 31, 2020 Issue #66 - My Favorite Album - Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney Bookmark and Share

The best record ever is Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. But my favorite record, that’s just personal to my experience, is This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem, which might come as a surprise to people. My music doesn’t sound like LCD Soundsystem. When I was getting into music I liked rock bands. I wasn’t interested in electronica or techno. I don’t know why. I think I had this sonic aversion to computer sounds. It didn’t sound real to me. I sound like I was a jaded, middle aged, classic rock fan, as if I was like, “Music’s not music unless there’s a guitar.” But I think maybe that was within me as a teenager for some reason. But then LCD Soundsystem broke that mindset for me.

I grew up in a suburban, rural setting, but then I got accepted to this nerd high school in downtown in Richmond, Virginia. So I started going to school in the city, and it was the first time I met people with music taste that went beyond church or the radio. And so the door flew open in front of me. It was jarring and I spent all my time listening to music that my friends recommended. I think the first time that I heard LCD Soundsystem was in the car of my best friend at the time, who went to be my first love, and we’re still friends. And he put on the record. And like honey it just captured all of the flies of my life.

And my initial impression was just, “I have to dance. There’s no option. I’m listening to this, I can’t do anything but dance to it.” Which was rare for me because I was an awkward dancer like any other teen usually is. But we put on these records at my friends’ houses and parties, and it would make everybody dance like magic, like no other music could. The music would follow me around to all the parties of my youth. And when I heard it enough times the lyrics started to sink in. I realized kind of far into being a fan that wait, these lyrics are super poetic, and there’s a great depth to them. It’s not just party music, communicating this party mentality, the way that a lot of pop music is just for the club and about the club. The songs are about friendship and home and relationships, and falling in and out of being enamored with society. I feel like James Murphy probably has a great love of culture, the way that a parent’s love allows them to be disappointed in their children. I feel like there’s a lot of disappointment in the son, but it’s a helpful disappointment.

It took on every good memory of that time. Now when I listen to it, it’s nostalgic for sure, but it holds up. I try to listen to it with new ears, or as if I’m hearing it for the first time, and the music is still amazing. I got to see them for the first time a couple years ago. When they broke up I was devastated. I was like, “Wow, I’ll never be complete. I’ll never see them.” But we actually played Lollapalooza the same year that they did and I feel like that might have been the happiest I’ve ever been, dancing and singing along to every song with my band and a bunch of my friends.

James Murphy and his band have these extensive songs that are almost meditative in the way that they’re arranged, starting with something simple and repetitive, and then adding layers to it, taking layers away. It felt sort of like painting. I don’t know why, but I just pictured the arrangements they made like layers of color, not like synesthesia, but it just felt super artful in the way that they constructed their songs.

I still have a lot in common with her, who I was when first heard that record. And at least through the lens of that record I feel like there’s something that’s essentially the same about me, but I was just a couple mistakes away from becoming who I am now. When I first heard that record I was on my way to being who I am now. And I’m currently on my way to being who I will be next. But these songs accompanied me through a lot of confusion, coming of age, friendships and relationships that were complex and tough, but I was growing.

(Lucy Dacus is a singer/songwriter based out of Richmond, VA, and has released two albums, her 2016 debut No Burden and 2018’s Historian. Last fall she also released the 2019 EP. Alongside Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, Dacus is also a member of the supergroup boygenius, who released their self-titled debut EP in 2018. Portions of Lucy Dacus’ conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.