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When This Is Happening was released in May – after being leaked online for voracious consumption – it wasn’t just an album; it was an event. James Murphy has consistently proven himself a major trendsetter in popular dance music, and This Is Happening finds him in top form. There was also Murphy’s insistence that it would be the final LCD Soundsystem album, and as such, it was imbued with added gravity.
From the quietly slinking two-note opening measures of the now classic Dance Yrself Clean, it’s obvious that Murphy doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and his aim is not so much to make a mark on popular music as it is to re-infuse it with a sort of half-smiling manic-depressive energy. And his encyclopaedic knowledge of the music that has shaped him comes through in slanted splashes, adding an iconic, archetypal quality to the work.
Most importantly, This Is Happening is an experiment in the long form. It’s an album meant to be heard from beginning to end with very little consideration for convenience of consumption or dance-floor readiness. Nonetheless, it inspires as much dancing as it does deep thought.
- Andrew Burgess
What we said: “These nine tracks were very clearly designed to make up an album, rather than just a slipshod collection of singles packaged for consumption. As with his last two LCD Soundsystem albums, James Murphy’s latest deserves to be played loud, debated, and danced to uncontrollably.”
- INTERVIEW: LCD Soundsystem