Tag Archives: lcd soundsystem

top ten albums of 2010

by Gordon

 

10. CONGRATULATIONS by mgmt

 

Flash Delirium [LISTEN]

While not as altogether catchy as their breakthrough Oracular Spectacular, it’s every bit as weird, and ultimately, as daring. Though a letdown on certain levels, you have to give it to the band for their genre-bending approach.

FULL REVIEW

 

9. INFINITE ARMS by band of horses

On My Way Back Home [LISTEN]

It doesn’t knock you out on first listen. Infinite Arms grows on you, reminding you of what makes Band of Horses a great band, be it the soaring vocals of Ben Bridwell, their undeniable melodies, or, less tangibly, the subtle way the music takes you to a quiet place just between childhood and last night.

FULL REVIEW

 

8. ODD BLOOD by yeasayer

O.N.E. [LISTEN]

Part Animal Collective, part Of Montreal, brand new and yet somehow reminiscent of an era that’s passed, it’s all come to be what is unmistakably Yeasayer, and I welcomed a heavy dose this year.

FULL REVIEW

 

7. THIS IS HAPPENING by lcd soundsystem

I Can Change [LISTEN]

This universally acclaimed third and purportedly final album from Murphy serves as an upbeat celebration of the end of a decade, while still encapsulating the sometimes introverted thoughtfulness that’s stood out in the artist’s previous work as well. Let’s hope he has more to say in the years to come.

FULL REVIEW

 

6. CONTRA by vampire weekend

Giving Up The Gun [LISTEN]

Proving that the earlier success of these four young New York City lads was no fluke, Contra serves up another dose of of African pop-meets-Western culture, but this time with even more boldness and purpose in direction.

FULL REVIEW

 

5. THE AGE OF ADZ by sufjan stevens

I Walked [LISTEN]

Do I wish Stevens, who for almost a decade has remained one of the most inspiring and sometimes life-changing artists for my generation, had combined the best of Adz and his recent EP All Delighted People to create an even better new release? Yes. But Adz is still undeniably an amazing record, grander in scale, scope and sound than anything yet from the quiet young Michigan native with a banjo.

4. GO by jónsi

Boy Lilikoi [LISTEN]

It’s Sigur Rós on Four Loko. With tighter compositions, fuller soundscapes, and just as much imagination as ever, you  need only close your eyes and imagine the other members to ease out of the feeling you’re committing adultery.

FULL REVIEW

 

3. TEEN DREAM by beach house

Walk In The Park [LISTEN]

It’s hard to believe how simple a song can be, or a band for that matter, and still make music magic. Amidst a broad pallette of pace and emotion, Legrand’s vocals leave the strongest aftertaste…soulful, confident, and even in a pop context, always a bit haunting.

FULL REVIEW

 

2. HIGH VIOLET by the national

Afraid Of Everyone [LISTEN]

It’s hard not giving this one the top spot. This is the third consecutive album from the band to be music gold, their instrumental style and lyrical intricasies too complex to merely describe on pen and paper. Singer Matt Berninger and the rest of The National continue to fill a void in contemporary music and culture, one that most of us, sadly, wouldn’t have even known even existed.

FULL REVIEW

 

1. THE SUBURBS by arcade fire

We Used To Wait [LISTEN]

I’m not surpised Arcade Fire would put out the best album of any year. I’m just surprised there’s a band as consistently good as Arcade Fire. Not every song may do it for you. When do they all? But the album’s strength is in its cohesive theme of the modern day, good and bad. And for modern music, it’s simply great.

FULL REVIEW
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THIS IS HAPPENING by lcd soundsystem

by Gordon

 

Pitchfork: 9.2           Rolling Stone: 4/5           Metacritic: 84           Spin: 4/5

 

Released: May 2010
Tracklisting:
  1. Dance Yrself Clean [LISTEN]

  2. Drunk Girls
  3. One Touch
  4. All I Want
  5. I Can Change
  6. You Wanted A Hit
  7. Pow Pow
  8. Somebody’s Calling Me
  9. Home

   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.

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