MGMT burst onto the pop scene back in the early late 2000s with a debut album that included indie-rock hits like “Kids,” “Electric Feel” and “Time To Pretend.” The trio of popular singles earned the duo of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser reach an international audience, and helped establish the groundwork for the wave of more synth-pop artists who would emerge throughout the 2010s.
Over the last 10 years, the duo have continued to deliver plenty of catchy tunes, which pull from various influences ranging from psychedelic to 1980s electro-pop. They’ve also been able to balance fresh and strong songwriting with mainstream success with their sound, which has taken them from being indie gems to sitting it the larger font section of many music festivals, including last year’s Panorama Festival in New York City.
They released their first new single in four years this past October with “Little Dark Age," which also acts as the title track to what will be their fourth full-length album when it arrives sometime in 2018. As the band gets ready to start up what should be another fantastic album cycle, AXS breaks down which of the five lyrics from their growing discography best represent the MGMT.
5. “Time To Pretend”
As the lead track to the band’s debut album in 2007, there was certainly a lot of of pressure to introduce MGMT to the world. What they delivered was a catchy, uplifting song that tailored its lyrical content towards a new generation of youth through music. This was pre-recession America after all, when money, cars and all of life’s wonderfully dangerous excesses were still what a new generation of rock stars wanted more than fame itself.
“Let's make some music make some money find some models for wives
I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin and f**k with the stars
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars”
The overall sound and feel to the closing and title track to MGMT’s 2010 sophomore album matches its drowsy and slower tempo perfectly. It is a little tough to say what message the band is trying to share from the start of “Congratulations” until the end, but it hardly matters, as honest lyrics still make for the best melodic poetry. When it comes down to it, we’d rather dissolve than be ignored in life as well.
“As strange as it seems,
I'd rather dissolve than have you ignore me”
3. “Electric Feel”
“Electric Feel” was one of the big hits that came off the band’s debut album, and keeps the loose and overall fun feeling of their music flowing perfectly. The song’s tribal-like rhythm and pipe instrumentation during the intro remind the listener to simply dance. If you’re going to put together a fun, radio-friendly dance song, you may as well pen some fun and carefree lyrics like “Shock me like an electric eel.”
“Ooh, girl! Shock me like an electric eel
Baby girl turn me on with your electric feel"
The lyrics to another one of their popular early singles are almost like a lesson of sorts. If the singer really is talking to kids, or in this case, a single and specific kid, the lesson they’re trying to push through is a pretty good one. Regardless of what you’re discovering or enjoying in life, it’s okay to enjoy it, but control yourself, and don’t take too much!
Take only what you need from it”
1. “Love Always Remains”
“Love Always Remains” was one of the select songs that appeared on MGMT’s first ever release, which came in the form of a six-track EP. The song is more stripped down and not as full-sounding as their later work would be, but the simplicity of it matches the romantic lyrical message shared throughout. The song points out someplace, not specific at all, where the ocean and sun will always be there. That’s not a bad thought to dwell upon while enjoying some music.
“No one has to hear
The sound of people laughing at their fears
And the ocean and sun are always there
To make you happy if you're feeling scared”