Pitchfork: 9.2 Rolling Stone: 4/5 Metacritic: 84 Spin: 4/5
Released: May 2010
Dance Yrself Clean [LISTEN]
All I Want
I Can Change
You Wanted A Hit
Somebody’s Calling Me
Admittedly a late bloomer in terms of LCD Soundsystem appreciation (I’d always heard the references, and always put the listens on hold), the artist’s most recent and purportedly last effort, This is Happening, is a true landmark.
“Dance Yrself Clean” is the first and quite possibly the most important song on the album. For three minutes, a subdued Murphy sings honest yet almost indifferent lines like, “Talking like a jerk, except you are an actual jerk/ And living proof that sometimes friends are mean”, all atop a simple 2-chord back-and-forth put to the beat of near tribal drumming. It’s then that it jumps, out of nowhere, into an epic, 5-minute-long, potentially speaker-blowing bass-synth solo, Murphy now passionately belting even more honest lines like, “Break me into bigger pieces/ So some of me is home with you/ Wait until the weekend/ And we can make our bad dreams come true.” Without this track alone, This is Happening would feel considerably emptier.
Follow-up “Drunk Girls” is worth mentioning as a quick, party-inducing pop-rock tune, akin to some of the Beastie Boys’ noisy, in-your-face hits. The video below was directed by Spike Jonze. “One Touch” makes for one of the most dance-happy tunes on the album, with just enough near-spaceship-sounding bells and whistles to make you wanna go on a solo dance groove tangent despite whatever present company you may find yourself in.
Just as some of Murphy’s catchiest and most memorable tracks derive from the repetition of a singular, timeless hook (for example, “All My Friends’” choppy piano, or “Someone Great’s” synth-y bassline, both from 2007’s Sound of Silver), This is Happening’s “All I Want” jams off of an incessant but never annoying 3-note lick of distorted guitar, Murphy singing chipper lines like, “All I want is your pity/ All I want are your bitter tears…/ From now on I’m someone different/ ‘Cause it’s no fun to be predicting”, and all I want is more.
“I Can Change” isn’t quite as spectacular as those already listed, but fortunately contains a funky, high-pitched sound of a head-nodder that still quantifies it as utterly enjoyable. With the album’s remaining tracks, however, Murphy’s confidence has unfortunately translated into overextended track times, “Somebody’s Calling Me” particularly muffled and droning. I’d gladly accept a 3-minute whack off of nearly all of these songs’ runtime if it meant gaining two or three more tracks altogether.
Is it better than its predecessors? As a whole, probably. But there’s still something timeless about the previously mentioned “All My Friends” and “Someone Great” from Murphy’s Sound of Silver that seem inescapably linked to the artist. And while This is Happening packs a wild punch, there’s no doubt that the listening experience would be amped by one’s surrounding environment, so whip it out at a party (double meaning?), or if you’re lucky enough, go see LCD live. I’ve heard wonderful stories.