you could criticize lcd soundsystem‘s music for being derivative (then again, what music isn’t?), especially in their latest album this is happening with more than obvious nods to talking heads (the spiraling polyrhythms of “pow pow”), joy division (the “transmission” guitars on “all i want”) and of course the velvet underground (“drunk girls” as an updated dance version of “white light/white heat”). one thing james murphy and co. execute quite originally, though, is their swagger, which is in turn rather impossible to replicate. you sense it right at the start of the record when the low levels of the first three minutes of album opener “dance yourself clean” trick you into turning up the volume. only they could pull off something like that, and only hopeless fans like us could fall for it.
in the nine-minute epic “you wanted a hit”, the cockiness goes a level up with murphy turning his nose up at record execs and fans alike (“you wanted a hit?/maybe we don’t do hits“), playing down the glorified state of music (“there’s lights and sounds and stories/music’s just a part“) whilst questioning the illusive demand for truth and reality. it’s a self-deprecating sort of swagger that’s unapologetic of its own shameless use of gimmicks (“no, honestly, we’re never smart/we fake it all the time“), urging you to not take it too seriously or read too much into things. it all sounds awfully liberating, perhaps as a parting short of sorts since this is supposed to be their last album. gimmick or not, there’s no better way of saying goodbye. – dan.
this is happening is out now on dfa records.