Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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LCD Soundsystem

  • LCD Soundsystem [Capitol/DFA, 2005] *
  • Sound of Silver [Capitol/DFA, 2007] **
  • This Is Happening [DFA/Virgin, 2010] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

LCD Soundsystem [Capitol/DFA, 2005]
Dance guy or rock guy, optimist or cynic--these are the troubling distinctions irony helps keep at bay ("Losing My Edge," "On Repeat"). *

Sound of Silver [Capitol/DFA, 2007]
One song so irresistible it makes you think the other tracks are songs too, which sometimes they are ("North American Scum," "Time to Get Away"). **

This Is Happening [DFA/Virgin, 2010]
Unless you're down with his clubrat semblables, James Murphy is hard to like, projecting cynicism with that chansonnier-derived Bowie-thrice-removed theatricality the Eurofied slip into like a thrift-store tux. That said, cynicism always has yuk potential, as in the debut's "Losing My Edge," the follow-up's "North American Scum," and this supposed finale's wicked "Drunk Girls." So I gave the lyrics some time and got somewhere with them. Witty, yes--the nonstop plays on "present company" in "Dance Yrself Clean," the tossed-off nay-saying of "You Wanted a Hit," a bounty of individual lines. But I reserve my love for Murphy's post-cynicism--romantic regrets and longings that might as well be autobiographical. Sweetening his electrobeats with concessions to tune, his gibes with pained entreaties and funny stumbles, he reaccesses the humanist inside him as if that's every hipster's right--which it pretty much is. A-