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Already Happened

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On a lighter note: LCD Soundsystem’s new album, This Is Happening, is due out on 17 May. On Monday, at a barely announced, last-minute warm-up gig in New York, the group’s impresario, James Murphy, dropped to his knees and begged the audience to keep it under wraps. ‘We spent two years making this record,’ Murphy said. ‘We want to put it out when we want to put it out… I don’t care about money – after it comes out, give it to whoever you want for free but until then, keep it to yourself.’

Too late. This Is Happening had already leaked, and on Wednesday – following a bit of cat-and-mouse with the music blogs – Murphy streamed the album on the band’s website. The timing (or lack thereof) seemed fitting, because time – and the fuck-all we can do about its passing – is what LCD Soundsystem’s best songs have been about. Murphy’s forte is the elegiac lyric, set against an urgent beat:

You spend the first five years trying to get with the plan
And the next five years trying to be with your friends again

Hence the heartbreaking John Cale cover, which bettered Franz Ferdinand’s, and in its different way matched Murphy’s original.

Murphy has depth of purpose and broad appeal, and is unusually literate in ways that don’t get in the way of the music. (Sam Lipsyte, who collaborated with Murphy before turning to fiction, once called him ‘the only current Grammy nominee in his category able to quote freely from The Recognitions’.) Listening to the new album last night I couldn’t stop thinking that songs this smart shouldn’t be so sexy and danceable. (The lead single, ‘Drunk Girls’, is shit-faced and singalong, but striking all the same: ‘Drunk girls know that love is an astronaut/It comes back, but it’s never the same.’) Dancing around the apartment this morning I thought: ‘This is where the bar should and/or used to be.’

Comments on “Already Happened”

  1. pinhut says:

    ‘the only current Grammy nominee in his category able to quote freely from The Recognitions’.

    This is most probably a blessing.

    Also, the new word ‘hearbreaking’ is a keeper.

  2. Pinhut: It almost certainly is, though the best (worst) New Yorker cartoon does come to mind.

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