When you hear the band name MGMT, most people will automatically think about their hit song, “Kids.” However, with their self-titled third LP, MGMT has created a sound that is not quite what you’d expect to hear.
Released on Sept. 17, the new album flew under the radar for many fans as MGMT continues to push the envelope and make music that doesn’t associate themselves with the iconic sound of “Kids” and their first album.
The new album perfectly captures a psychedelic rock feel, one reminiscent of the 1960s with a modern twist. While some songs flow together immaculately, others seem like they come out of nowhere. The weirdness of the album becomes accepted, especially if you understand how quirky Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser can really be.
After the “Time to Pretend” EP and a tour opening for of Montreal in 2006, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser gained what they consider accidental fame and signed a deal with Columbia Records. It was an unexpected offer that wasn’t that easy to just say, “Yes,” to. The life-changing decision brought their first album, “Oracular Spectacular,” and catapulted the group to gain international recognition.
“Congratulations,” their second album, brought a completely different sound, one that turned some of their fans away. While figuring out how to deal with such a rapid ascent to stardom, it reinforced the idea that MGMT wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. “Oracular Spectacular” was a winning formula with mainstream audiences, yet with “Congratulations,” the duo decided to explore new musical territory.
While this exploration gained new fans, including some famous ones, non-musician fans were not pleased. According to a Pitchfork article [http://pitchfork.com/features/cover-story/reader/mgmt/] and interview, “Congratulations” sold 75 percent less than its predecessor upon its release date. Because of this, many assumed that Columbia would be more restrictive with their next LP.
However, that turned out to not be the case. “MGMT” is a well-thought out album that shows the creativity and compatibility of the duo. It experiments with numerous genres including rock, pop and indie. The lyrics are dark, and at some points, I wonder how sad someone really had to be to write them to convey such deep emotion.
Many of the MGMT’s younger fans will criticize the album for not having their old sound and feel, but MGMT from the beginning has been about new and different music. This album shows the progression of maturity that the group has gone through. They went from being two college buddies messing around to internationally known and talented musicians on a major record label, testing the waters with something unexpected. While it may be a different sound, it is a good one worth giving a listen to.