James Murphy, co-founder of DFA Records and frontman for dance-punk pioneers, LCD Soundsystem, is in constant struggle with his own relevance. LCD Soundsystem’s 3rd release, “This is Happening” is a perfect example.
The album is certainly more introspective than much of their other work and covers such topics as drunk girls, friendship and relationships. The album features 70’s dance beats woven in to synthesizer tangents and melodic variations that maintain a very unique and ultra cool arrangement. Ironically, despite clear references to their punk roots, every track except for “Drunk Girls” passes the 4 minute mark.
The first track, “Dance Yr Self Clean” is a 9 minute exposition of the entire album. The track starts with quirky percussion paired with bass and droning vocals, which soon gives way to subtle synthesizer accents. At the 3 minute mark, the song explodes into a louder, more aggressive take on the original melody. The lyrics remind us all that “sometimes friends are mean.”
The 5th track, and the 2nd single of the album, “I Can Change” is by far the least indulgent and most pop oriented track. The song is a clear salute to 80’s dance music. The catchy rhythm, and crooning vocals are clear indications of its status as a “single.” Musically, there really isn’t a whole lot going on. Murphy’s vocals are what makes the song worth listening to.
Overall, the much anticipated 3rd and (rumored to be last) LCD Soundsystem release doesn’t throw listeners too many curveballs. It’s the same addictive, rhythmic, insightful, danceworthy music–not just reserved for the dancefloor.