LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening


3.5
great

Review

by Ryan Flatley EMERITUS
May 17th, 2010 | 128 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Overwrought at times, LCD Soundsystem still provide an abstract view of an often muddied genre.

Becoming acquainted with LCD Soundsystem is not exactly charming. Such a potentially arduous relationship takes certain dedication, which includes patiently waiting through conscientiously planned buildups and vocal breakthroughs. And while most of their tracks do appear this way, some have been more straightforward, like “North American Scum” from LCD Soundsystem’s wild, electronic-dance journey, Sound Of Silver. But with every track that sustains energy like “North American Scum,” LCD Soundsystem can find themselves stuck climbing out of their own buildups, and with This is Happening’s average track length of over seven minutes, predictability ensues.

Before getting into the meat and potatoes of This is Happening, singer James Murphy is the focal point of most of the album, rather than the repetitive beats and dance music that would appear much less without such a dramatic singer. Murphy is often adapting his voice with each song’s particular mood, like such exemplified in “Dance Yrself Clean” which begins rather glumly, yet moves towards an ecstasy-laced synth rager with Murphy swiftly changing tones without any hesitation. Meanwhile, in the outrageously fun, yet undoubtedly foolish “Drunk Girls,” Murphy’s chipper side is showcased. Murphy’s vocals along with LCD Soundsystem’s occasional undemanding approach provide a glimpse that this record could be potentially stellar. Even so, “Drunk Girls” is nothing short of a guilty pleasure, as it’s difficult to take the lyrical absurdity of the track seriously.

But Murphy is hardly left for dead, as “One Touch” and “Home” wiggle through the onslaught of noodling synth riffs, and while may not be as delightful as “All My Friends,” they are uniquely placed and executed. And yet, not all is well with LCD Soundsystem, as from “You Wanted A Hit” to “Somebody's Calling Me” there appear to be some sort of musical lax. These three tracks provide a very disinterested dimension of an often intriguing artist. The spoken-word blabber of “Pow Pow” never really stimulates or formulates into something while “Somebody's Calling Me” painfully sloshes around like it was some mishap that accidentally found a way on This is Happening.

This is Happening is a marathon-length listen, as in, if you can find a way to deal with James Murphy’s silly, sometimes bizarre lyrical themes and grand scale tracks, it may be worth the wait. But before listening to This is Happening realize that this album will hardly inject the vivacious tendencies of today’s best dance artist, yet exhibit an abstract view of how dance music can be manipulated and built through the simplest means.



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user ratings (546)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
anormalperson (4.5)
LCD comes through with an epic dance masterpiece that transcends dance music into an almost otherwor...

Peter Tabakis (4.5)
James Murphy tops himself. Attempting greatness, he overshoots, and lands on a stone-cold classic....

BenHeller (4)
Contains a rapturous tangle of tingling grooves, a primitive electronic energy, and a level of inven...

J. Ponton EMERITUS (2.5)
No, it's not....


Comments:Add a Comment 
IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 18th 2010


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the album cover infuriates me to the degree that I'd like to kick Murphy 90 degrees upright.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 18th 2010


3772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

THIS HAS HAPPENED!

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

Satellite
May 18th 2010


20826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review.

I really like this a lot. I don't get all the Murphy hate on this site.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

123, this is great

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 18th 2010


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I really like this a lot. I don't get all the Murphy hate on this site."
Just saying the Say Anything song "Admit It" was practically written for Murphy

Waior
May 18th 2010


11460 Comments


Not griping/complaing, just curious - how exactly does an album with a 3.5 staff review fall under the umbrella of "Best New Music"? Is it moreso based on the Sputnik staff equivocally agreeing that something is objectively awesome?

Asides that, I've never really had huge interest in this band but I may end listening to this.

Satellite
May 18th 2010


20826 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

OMG I'm listening to that song right now, no lie.

I think it was more likely written for the people who listen to his music.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not griping/complaing, just curious - how exactly does an album with a 3.5 staff review fall under the umbrella of "Best New Music"? Is it moreso based on the Sputnik staff equivocally agreeing that something is objectively awesome?


there's an algorithm that automatically assigns BNM to albums that have like 3 4+ staff ratings and an overall staff average over like 3.75 or something

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


31373 Comments


Great review, but this is truly one of the worst albums of the year

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


20857 Comments


6 staff reviews in the one day! That could be a record.

Wow, just looking through the 59 ratings for this album thus far; "MIXED OPINIONS" & "POLARIZING" are an under-statement.

How long is the album all up?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, just looking through the 59 ratings for this album thus far; "MIXED OPINIONS" & "POLARIZING" are an under-statement.


go look at tomorrow, in a year 8-).

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


20857 Comments


"go look at tomorrow, in a year"

Ooh yeah. The top 2 sound-offs of Lewis & Jeremy pretty much sum up all the ratings.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


17222 Comments


I agree with this.

Ponton
Emeritus
May 18th 2010


5804 Comments


I really like the review, awesome

Piglet
May 18th 2010


4659 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm trying to interpret the chart. It's like The Andes - the gradual upwards motion, then the plateau on top and then the sudden drop to the ocean.

Dielikehussayn
May 18th 2010


20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just saying that the band Say Anything and in particular the song "Admit It" blow huge chunks of cock compared to Murphy and LCD Soundsystem.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

totally jammed to this on an hour long commute this morning, which lead me to thinking: of all the bands Pitchfork hypes, LCD Soundsystem has to be the one most inherently tied to the website. It seems that what people think of Pitchfork aligns with what people think of LCD Soundsystem; if you find the site pretentious, overwhelming, and self-righteous, then you'll find LCD Soundsystem the same way, but if you enjoy reading Pitchfork's reviews, think they're generally smart, and sort of turn a blind eye to the mild douchiness about them, then you can enjoy LCD Soundsystem the same way

AggravatedYeti
May 18th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ personally I am with you on that Adam (as in I think I am that way?)

but I know at least 10 people who love LCD and go more than out of their way to bash Pitchfork whenever they can.


Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2010


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they're LYING

Dielikehussayn
May 18th 2010


20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Anyone who bashes pitchfork is lying. It is the holy grail of music. I pray to pitchfork five times a day.



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