“On “Oh Baby,” the opener from the fourth studio album by LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy picks up where he left off six years ago. The track blends elements of rock and electronic music, and elements of the past and the present. It’s a six-minute song with a skeletal beginning, confessional lyrics and a soaring crescendo. The nine tracks that follow, roughly speaking, explore the formulas found on past LCD Soundsystem records. In some respects, on American Dream, nothing has changed. But this, of course, is only part of the story.
Every LCD Soundsystem album has featured variations on similar lyrical and musical themes, but on American Dream there are two tweaks that make a significant impact. This isn’t an overtly political record, as the title implies, but there’s a newfound sincerity here that reflects both the current despair of liberal America and the presumably torturous decision behind reuniting the band. This is perhaps most obvious in what’s not on the album. Where LCD Soundsystem, Sound Of Silver and This Is Happening each had songs that would sound good at college parties (“Daft Punk Is Playing At My House,” “North American Scum” and “Drunk Girls,” respectively), there’s no equivalent here. In the scheme of the lean albums Murphy likes to write, this makes a big difference. American Dream also feels lighter on irony. Rightly or wrongly, Murphy became a figurehead for Generation Y hipsterism, and his previous albums had a sense of cool detachment that became a signature. Just before the LCD reunion, Murphy worked on Blackstar, the final David Bowie album—it’s difficult to imagine him coming away from that experience and wanting to write a track like “Drunk Girls.”” –Resident Advisor