Photo by G.
When LCD Soundsystem front-man James Murphy literally got on his knees and begged the sold out crowd at Webster Hall not to bootleg their new album This is Happening, he must have had a premonition that the album would leak a few hours later. The album doesn’t get released until May 18, 2010, but when I saw that the album had leaked, I got out my bucket and… At any rate, here’s my review of “This is Happening.”
Dance Yrself Clean. As the opening track started, I was immediately bored. I waited a minute as you can’t really judge a song until it gets going and I am glad I waited. At the 3:11 mark in the song, Dance Yrself Clean transformed from a pretty boring track to a sound-a-like dance version of Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Out To Dry.” Once it picks up the pace, it doesn’t relent for the rest of the song. As the song clocks in at 8:58, you get a lot of bang for your dance buck.
Drunk Girls. The first single and the shortest track on the album. The other night when LCD Soundsystem played this song live, the crowd totally freaked out in one of the many moments of the show where the entire place was vibrating. This track has post-punk influences and is sure to be a party classic. Though the lyrics are not Shakespeare, it concerns itself with drunk girls “being just as insane” as drunk boys.
One Touch. This is another stand out track on the album. From the second the song starts, it’s designed to make you get your groove on. The vocal delivery reminds me of Information Society. The lyrics are quite repetitive, but when they shout out “One touch is never enough,” you’re sure to be throwing your hands in the air. The track starts to wind down at the 6:27 mark, but does not end for another full minute.
All I Want. This is electro-meets-alternative. The track has a pretty good beat, but the screeching guitars make it a little bit annoying. This one won’t be getting much air time with me. It’s unfortunate because right at the end of the song, at the 6:35 mark, there’s a very cute and very brief piano solo.
I Can Change. This song sounds to me a little bit like “Love Is A Stranger” by Eurythmics. According2g, that’s a good thing. This track is definitely my favorite off the record. James Murphy uses a little bit of falsetto for a nice touch. The lyric I like the best in the song is “Love is a curse / shoved in a hearse / Love is an open book to a verse / of your bad poetry / and this is coming from me.” The song is 5:54 and you’re going to want to put aside some 6 minute blocks of time to listen to this track over and over again.
You Wanted A Hit. This is another track that takes a few minutes to get going (2 minutes and 12 seconds to be exact) and clocking in at a very long 9:12, that’s a tad too long, according2g. The vocals remind me of “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, but with a lot less conviction.
Pow Pow. They opened with this song in concert and I recall not caring much for their live rendition, but I was definitely opened to hearing the studio version. I am sad to report that the live and studio versions pretty much have the same flavor. The lyrics are spoken, and aside from a jab at writer Michael Musto, there is not much ‘pow’ in this track. The song is 8 minutes and 25 seconds long.
Somebody’s Calling Me. This is a slow track with almost whispered vocals. Aside from a little bit of organ action during the chorus, the song pretty much stays the same for the entire 6:55 duration.
Home. The final track is a late night club-thumper. Luckily the track has a good beat because a lot of the lyrics don’t rhyme and they sound pretty awkward. I think this song will grow on me after a few listens, but it definitely seems to fit on a very uneven album. The song is 8 minutes long, so perhaps the band might be able to make some use of an editor on their next album to shape these tracks into pop perfection.
The problem I tend to find with LCD Soundsystem is that they are fully capable of hitting it out of the park, but on those tracks when they do not, they seem to strike out miserably. On a scale of A to G, “This is Happening” gets a C.