Review: LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

It’s a bit dangerous writing a review right slap bang in the middle of this album’s hype period. But here goes.

What James Murphy’s done here is prove that songs don’t have to be cut down to size to become catchy. That’s what these guys excel at. Look at examples like ‘All My Friends’ and ‘Someone Great’. They exceed  7 minutes, but they are neither ridiculously repetitive nor are they frustratingly slow building.

I don’t understand how they consistently do that. Apart from first single ‘Drunk Girls’, the shortest song on this new album is just under 7 minutes as well. But not a single song is boring, not a single one leaves you feeling that they are trying to drag it out.

When they do shorten it, they show they can still party fast-paced with the best. ‘Drunk Girls’ is the young one on the album. Think of ‘This Is Happening’ as a family reunion. All the kids are grown up. Everyone is having a cultured, mature good old knees up.

Then the first grandchild bursts in the room with his action figures and lego and makes all the adults laugh. That grandchild is ‘Drunk Girls’. You can’t have a family reunion without one. You can’t have an LCD Soundsystem album without one.

But the adult songs are what really make the album worthwhile. The opening track ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ takes three whole minutes to kick in, but when it does, you realise why they made those opening three minutes so subdued. That’s the funny cousin of the reunion. You know, the cousin that had ADHD when he was growing up?

‘All I Want’ moves the album briefly away from its dance nature and adds a crashing, gut-wrenching guitar riff which seems to represent the longing in Murphy’s vocals to get what he wants. An uncle in a mid-life crisis, if ever I saw one.

But it’s 9 minute marathon track ‘You Wanted a Hit’ that owns the album. That’s the wise old grandad of the reunion. No one back-chats him, he’s right and you’re wrong and once he gets going, you can’t help but marvel at his experience. The track starts with the bare bones and then fades away into the disobedient bassline that backs up Murphy’s rebellious lyrics:

“You wanted a hit. Well this is how we do hits. You wanted a hit? But that’s not what we do.”

He’s right. This sums up the whole album. You wanted catchy tunes? You wanted to be entertained? Well this is how LCD Soundsystem do it.


‘This is Happening’ is out on May 17th in the UK. You can pre-order or stream the album on their website.


3 Responses to “Review: LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening”

  1. You’re right about the song lengths, I never find myself skipping to ‘the good bits’. It all delivers.

    Nice review.

  2. […] LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening [review] Despite how high this album is in our chart, This Is Happening was a slight disappointment. That […]

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