written by: September 20, 2013
Album-Art-for-MGMT-by-MGMT Release Date: September 17, 2013


MGMT seems to have made meticulously clever choices all over its third and most recent album, MGMT.

From the juxtaposition of heavily psychedelic, and often dark, content on the album with the dull daily scene on its cover artwork, to the title of the second track, “Cool Song No. 2,” these self-aware ironies are pristinely chosen to complement the group’s least radio-friendly release to date.

MGMT steers far away from Oracular Spectcular’s cheerful melodies, going deeper into and even beyond Congratulations’ somber explorations. Abstract but carefully curated lyrics create a poetically brilliant album, leaving room for listeners to extract personal meaning from a verbosely defined, art-centric release.

“Alien” opens MGMT with a peculiar feeling of psychedelic dreaminess.

Children verse the intro and lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden symphonically joins in, “Sequins in the eyes/That’s a fine time to dine/Divine who’s circling/Feeding the cards to the midwives/Who love those alien days.”

“Alien Days” goes on to compare three contextually alien/enlightening moments: The innocent imaginations of childhood; the time right before you fall asleep; and, most relevant to the song, tripping on drugs.

The exploration of moments when a truth or beauty all at once arrives—ideas tolerantly ignored most days—is versed fiercely on this engaging first single: “How all the scheming, soulless creatures can’t find honey in the hive/If it’s right beneath the nose/Numbers can’t decide if the day’s supposed to smile.”

“Introspection” explores the questions of soul and origin, maintaining a confused and overwhelmed perspective with which humans are all assuredly burdened. VanWyngarden sings, “Tripled by the onslaught/Speeding feud of time/Dying by the unloved/Of voices in the pride.”

MGMT’s second single, “Your Life Is A Lie,” immediately follows with one potential reaction to existential thought—that is, nothing matters, and constructions can immediately become lies.  The stagnated lines are blunt and to the dreary point, culminating in a loose mock-consolation, “Nobody wins/Try not to cry.”

On “Astro-Mancy,” MGMT reaches deep into its celestial imaginations to write some of the most murky and poetic lyrics on the album.

“The minute the mirror turned its back to me/My distinct conviction of keeping eternal sources piled somewhere familiar/Was compromised and tangled in knots/For all I know we were sleeping/Arranged like fate’s vain infantry/Stacked in unconscious opposition/Blind and happy for tomorrow,” VanWyngarden sings.

“I Love You Too, Death” answers any curiosities about whether MGMT will contain anything even remotely as catchy or uplifting as Oracular Spectacular’s “Weekend Wars,” with a whispering and unanimous “No!”

MGMT is on the verge of completely resigning from pop, in creative favor of former tourmates Of Montreal or Radiohead’s contemporary experimentations and Devendra Banhart’s noisy quiverings.

For those who find the album’s minor tones and spacey pace a little too dark, “Plenty Of Girls In The Sea” adds a shot of optimism to an otherwise very distant, introspective album: “The trick is to try to be free/So keep it short, simple and sweet/’Cause there’s plenty of girls in the sea/Whenever you want there to be.”

MGMT – MGMT tracklist:

  1. “Alien Days”
  2. “Cool Song No. 2”
  3. “Mystery Disease”
  4. “Introspection” (Faine Jade cover)
  5. “Your Life Is a Lie”
  6. “A Good Sadness”
  7. “Astro-Mancy”
  8. “I Love You Too, Death”
  9. “Plenty Of Girls in the Sea”
  10. “An Orphan of Fortune”