When trying to do an objective review of the third and final album from LCD Soundsystem, one must separate the musical aspect from the lyrics in the songs and take in the stories being told by frontman James Murphy. This 10-track marathon lasts well over an hour and each track seems as if it is a rich recollection of a moment or happening in Murphy’s life. Hence, the title for the album This Is Happening almost puts you in the frame of mind as if you’re along for a personal retrospective.
Drunk Girls was the first single released on the album and the track was quickly awarded best new music by Pitchfork and positive reviews throughout the music world. Unbeknownst to that world at the time was that track is actually the silliest and least complex on the entire album. While not all of LCD Soundsystem’s music needs to sound grown up, there is something especially rewarding about a track that does.
For example, I Can Change, my personal favorite off the album, is a scaled back offering that features Murphy as a vulnerable young man who recalls a time when he would do anything to hold on to a girl. The accompanying electronic beats fit the concession Murphy is singing about in a really special way. Tracks like Dance Yrself Clean and Pow Pow are also rich in the sense they feature the widest range of electronic highs and lows while staying grounded enough to be enjoyed warmly.
There have been numerous reports that this is going to be the final album from LCD Soundsystem. If that is indeed true, and they break up after the summer, they go out while living up to the old adage that the “third time is a charm”. The group has finally delivered an array of songs that show maturity without “losing their edge”, and for that reason is my favorite LCD Soundsystem album. It has the cleanliness and definition that Sound of Silver lacked, and never makes you want to skip a track. I give it an 8.6.