MGMT have always been horribly misunderstood. Ever since they came out with their breakthrough debut record, Oracular Spectacular, the general public have always had this idea that the duo of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden are big electro-synthpop hit-makers. This is due in large part the first trio of singles that came out during Oracular Spectacular‘s cycle. Time To Pretend, Kids, and Electric Feel are all huge stadium worthy rock songs. They are undeniably catchy and incredibly powerful. And everyone loved them. The one-two-three punch that these songs gave elevated MGMT to mainstream heights and commercial appeal (and signing with label big-shot Columbia, home of One Direction among others). Suddenly, everyone knows and loves them. Ask a casual listener if they know MGMT and they will say yes and that they love them. The thing is, the casual fan only knows MGMT from these three songs. Sadly, these songs are not representative of who the band really are.
If you listened closely to Oracular Spectacular beyond those three hit songs, you will discover a very different MGMT. The back-half of the record finds MGMT as an experimental psychedelic band who create songs that are born of drug-fueled bliss. Goldwasser and VanWyngarden have admitted that their early hits were songs that they wrote way back when they were still in college and is not something that they would write again. For some reason, the public can’t accept this. They keep waiting for MGMT to churn out the hits. That is why there was a huge backlash when sophomore record Congratulations (complete with neon surfing cat) came out and why there will be another one when their newest self-titled record come out.
MGMT the record is about as anti-commercial as it gets. It is one that walks away from the easy hooks and instead wrangles around in its weirdness and quirk. It is not an easy album to listen to and one that can easily confuse the listener. But it can also be appreciated and understood if you look it from the perspective of who MGMT really want themselves to be – pure psychedelia. Kudos to Goldwasser and VanWyngarden for not giving in to public pressure and kudos to them for being true to themselves. MGMT have moved on from their earlier selves, so should you.
Watch the video for single Your Life Is A Lie embedded below.
MGMT – MGMT comes out 9/17 via Columbia (order here)