Number 9: LCD Soundsystem – “All I Want”

LCD Soundsystem is a really reliable band. They’re accessible, yet brainy in surprising ways. Their latest effort, This Is Happening, has a lot of fundamental things in common with their last few album: it’s a stellar collection of really clean, really enjoyable, and really intelligent dance music. But there are a few moments on this album that demonstrate the band’s sensibilities straining beyond mere electronic dance music. And this track, “All I Want,” is a perfect example.

I think what I like most about this song, and what makes it more than just another solid entry by this predictably great band, is that its sonic palate seems quite a bit more vast than that of the band’s previous efforts. Hints of the expanded sonic repertoire are all over the album, but “All I Want” is the best showcase of these new sounds.

Here’s what I mean. LCD Soundsystem’s songs are all very dancey and surging. They sort of propel through their runtimes, and pretty much any LCD Soundsystem song will get even the most dance-averse citizens (myself as a prime example) at least tapping toe along, if not actually up and moving.

But “All I Want” adds a lot to this picture. It starts with a very organic-sounding drum and guitar warmup, and that organic sound persists, making the whole track feel more “performed” than “programmed,” unlike, say, the very much electronic opener “Dance Yrself Clean.” “All I Want” includes a positively sunny piano line, the insistent guitars of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” pepped-up new-wave synths, an almost Beach Boys sounding harmony on the chorus, and “Tomorrow Never Knows”-esque burbles by the end.

In short, it’s a layered piece of music, just like you’d expect with LCD Soundsystem, but the layers sound distinctly new and fresh for the band. It may not be a soul-scraping or brain-tickling song, but it’s fun as hell, and it shows an already accomplished band relentlessly pushing for new sounds. Which makes it an absolute joy.

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