This Is Happening
If getting through a entire LCD Soundsystem record never gave you trouble before, you’re not going to object now. This Is Happening typifies what people love about James Murphy — and what some hate — in even broader strokes, though they’re more like slabs by now. Use opener “Dance Yrself Clean” as a litmus test: Do you bear down on the circular singsong melody or the nine-minute length and the burping synth generator, seemingly programmed to play random notes in the tune’s key for most of the back end? While 2007’s Sound of Silver held for five-in-a-row turns of about-face before falling back on four eye-rolling reliables, Happening puts these contradictions gleefully, almost obnoxiously, upfront. It mirrors Silver’s silly-to-serious “North American Scum” and “All My Friends” with the uproarious “Drunk Girls” and the gorgeous Gary Numan template “I Can Change” (“… if it helps you fall in love,” sings Murphy — when did he become Rod Stewart, and why didn’t he make the transformation sooner?). “Drunk Girls” is lavishly brainless, more in its “White Light/White Heat” structure than its lyrics, which boil over with wisdom: “Drunk girls give them too many tries” — perhaps. “Drunk girls wait an hour to pee” — eternally. —Dan Weiss
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