Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Albums of 2010: #6: This Is Happening

#6: 'This Is Happening' by LCD Soundsystem

A trilogy either consists of a gradual but definite decline, plummeting from the exciting, original first attempt right through to the turgid, tired, downcast finale, or an action packed, ever-exuberant expression that only strengthens and adapts with each successive release. In music, this is usually in the former camp as groups burst into existence with a phenomenal debut and then fail to ignite the same fuses with each subsequent album. James Murphy was a Brooklynite before Brooklyn really got big, taking his electronic music and merging it with a whole realm of pop from the last five decades, bringing something labeled 'Dance Punk' to the attention of the world, and absolutely positively crafting the most wondrous kind of trilogy. This was music that indie kids could really get down and dirty to...

And, with both a heavy heart and a sigh of relief, 'This Is Happening' is LCD Soundsystem's last hurrah, an Eno-inspired blast of intelligent, mature backlash against an industry that is fast outgrowing the 40 year old hipster at the helm. 'Dance Yrself Clean' shuffles into a muffled introduction to disguise the horn-like synth that stabs into the track and shakes the speaker, and your dancing feet, across the room. 'Drunk Girls' is a lesson in all-out, 'White Light/White Heat' dance rock from a wise master whilst 'All I Want' reveals a bitter somberness amidst the 70s guitar swoons.

We get to see a glimpse at the reasoning behind the sudden retirement of LCD on 'You Wanted A Hit', with Murphy and co spending nine minutes giving the most beautiful and twitchy 'fuck you' to the music industry. 'I Can Change' is a moody Human League ballad, jerking with the resonance of regret as Murphy croons out those words we have all thought (and realised we really, really, really shouldn't have) 'I can change, if it helps you fall in love'.

James Murphy has accepted his status as an icon of cool, saying "I understand that if someone's going to make me his idea of cool I can't control that." although you can feel the indie kid inside him squirming at the thought. Well, I am sorry Mr Murphy but this record, and the entire LCD legacy, will have you cited and listed as the benchmark for 'cool' for a few years to come yet (until you decide to come back under a pseudonym and blow everything away, of course).

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