This Is HappeningAlbum | LCD Soundsystem By Stewart Mason
James Murphy might be out of ideas.
In the '90s, UK music writers invented the term "dad rock": younger artists whose retro leanings and unchallenging familiarity made them accessible to aging rock fans who could claim that by liking, say, Sheryl Crow or Coldplay, they were staying somewhat current. With LCD Soundsystem's third album, James Murphy has become the first dance-oriented dad rock artist. Murphy has trafficked in snarkily self-deprecating lyrics about aging hipsters ever since "Losing My Edge" back in 2002, but that now seems like his only well of lyrical inspiration. Similarly, Murphy's fondness for lifting musical ideas from his heroes has gotten both more blatant and more classic rock-oriented: the feedback drone at the center of "All I Want" is a blatant cop of Robert Fripp's guitar part on David Bowie's "Heroes," and on "Pow Pow," Murphy unapologetically borrows David Byrne's preacher-man vocal tics. Except for the utterly crap first single "Drunk Girls" -- which ironically feels exactly like the sort of sellout attempt Murphy and company mock later on "You Wanted A Hit" -- none of This Is Happening is bad, and much is genuinely enjoyable. But in comparison to LCD Soundsystem's previous work, it feels like Murphy is treading water.