LCD Soundsystem Could Be Your Friend

So this is going to sound lame, but last night I was at the gym, hoping time would move faster while I was on the elliptical machine, and listening to LCD Soundsystem. Specifically, I was sweating to "Someone Great" and "All My Friends" from the band's 2007 album Sound Of Silver. In a way, they're similar--both are percolating, mid-tempo, synth-based tracks with reflective lyrics. "Great" is vaguer, statelier and more emotionally mysterious than "Friends," which has a bigger build, the tempo and intensity gradually increasing as LCD mastermind James Murphy sings about the gentle battle between future and past. These are the kinds of songs that could only be made by someone entering early middle age (Murphy is 40), when you realize you can't fool yourself into thinking you're young and cool anymore. Those feelings, ironically, are familiar to just about everyone between the ages of 16 and 50. And those songs are the work of someone who, like me, understands the ridiculousness of the elliptical machine.

So given Murphy's knack for sensitively storming electronic pop, it was a bit of a surprise when I learned that the first single off This Is Happening, the forthcoming LCD Soundsystem album (it's due out May 18), is called "Drunk Girls." That's a song title by someone fishing for a hit, which Murphy hasn't yet scored. (The band is still more known than heard.) Was LCD now going to stand for Lowest Common Denominator?

Nope. I should've had more faith. Over satisfyingly oddball (i.e., non-pandering) backdrop of bleep blorp synths, propulsively brittle guitar chunking, and a danceably metronomic beat played, I think, on live drums (rather than a drum machine), Murphy displays his usual knack for the killer one-liner. "Just because I'm shallow doesn't mean that I'm heartless"; "They need a lover who's smarter than me"; "Drunk girls wait an hour to pee." The song is funny and funky and in an ideal world will be sung aloud by its title subjects this summer.

There's a lot of anticipation for This Is Happening, way more than for the band's two previous albums. Murphy is tickling a lot of people's hearts and brains these days. I think a lot of us are hungry for music we can dance to, that's written by someone who's smart and likes to laugh, who seems like he could be our friend, and is a bit confused by the world but is trying to make it work. I know I could use some more of that. Which I guess is a way of saying that I hope the new album is as good as the last two. I believe it will be.

See more at http://www.spin.com/

SPIN's 125 Best Albums of the Past 20 Years

Search 1,400 Album Reviews

Editor's Picks