Last night at Webster Hall, James Murphy got down on his knees and begged the audience not to leak LCD Soundsystem’s highly anticipated third album, This Is Happening, saying, “after it comes out, give it to whoever you want for free. But until then, keep it to yourself.” And, right on cue, Happening has hit the file-sharing circuit, with a little over a month to go before its intended release date. (James — we swear it wasn’t us!) So, how is it? Well, through a third listen: fantastic. We’re already on record as approving of previously leaked “Drunk Girls,” “Dance Yrself Clean,” and “I Can Change,” and, unsurprisingly, there isn’t a dud among the six songs from the album we hadn’t yet heard. The early front-runner, though, would have to be “All I Want,” the latest exercise in Murphy’s proud history of deceivingly uplifting sad-sackery.
Speaking of which — what is Murphy sad about these days? James has always been a lovable curmudgeon type, his various gripes, complaints, and expressions of nostalgia often making great songwriting fodder. We’re talking about a guy whose first single, “Losing My Edge,” was a not completely jokey put-down of too-cool-for-school youngsters, and whose explication of the lameness of modern-day New York we loved so much we put it at No. 11 on our list of best-ever NYC songs. In the name of a This Is Happening preview, here’s a song-by-song breakdown of what’s making Murphy upset.
“Dance Yrself Clean”: Jerks.
“Drunk Girls”: Technically, it’s drunk girls, although we like to think of it (despite some harsh words) as more of an ode than a put-down.
“One Touch”: Lack of touching (“one touch is never enough”).
“All I Want”: A girl, we think.
“I Can Change”: Definitely a girl.
“You Wanted a Hit”: Mainstream-industry pressure. Classic.
“Pow Pow”: Michael Musto.
“Somebody’s Calling Me”: Mostly just sounds tired.
“Home”: Terrible times; things getting weird; the fear of not having anything to talk about.