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LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening (DFA)

I’ve always resisted the urge to get behind James Murphy. I hated the early DFA 12" art direction and so I avoided them (they were pervasive in my beginning vinyl days, early 00s). I picked up “Losing My Edge” and just didn’t get the fascination. (Never mind that “Beat Connection” was on the B-side – how the fuck did I miss THAT the first time? One of my favorite jams ever now…) But when I finally heard his first full-length, I was won over. Every time he reveals a new album, I want to be able to dismiss it as more of the same, because in the end that’s sort of what he’s doing: another installment of the same tongue-in-cheek mixed genre bag, replete with ironic pop culture references, disco riffs, lots of cowbell and/or bongos, one or two rock tracks thrown in, etc. So This is Happening doesn’t really stray from this. Kick-off single “Drunk Girls” fulfills the role of raucous rocker track, and while it’s not a personal favorite, I can appreciate its sense of humor because once again he’s sort of nailed it. “One Touch” is sort of like “Get Innocuous!” part 2, but it’s a pretty irresistible jam. And “I Can Change” is clearly the standout, sporting the best vocal of his LCD career. Never mind that “Somebody’s Calling Me” is a shameless homage to “Nightclubbing” when “You Wanted a Hit” is such a great reference to new wave pop without being ironic. Time will tell how this settles in alongside his other LCD albums, but in this early impression for me, it rivals his strongest previous work.

Watch/listen: “I Can Change”