MGMT’s unusual sound fails to make impact

Photo courtesy of MGMT’s self-titled third studio album has received mixed reviews from media critics.

The first few seconds of an album really says a lot about the rest of the record. It sets a mood. It sets a tone. The first few seconds are essential to the listener, as they will quickly make their decision about said album.

MGMT’s self-titled third album starts off with the track “Alien Days” and it’s odd, to say the least.

It starts off with a young girl talking nonsense. Later, the song breaks into a “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” sound. In other words, it’s one hot mess.

As the album moves into the second track “Cool Song No. 2” it doesn’t seem to impress me any more than the first.

I know MGMT is known for its electronic sound. I’ve fallen for the sounds that were created in “Electric Feel” off its first album “Oracular Spectacular.” But, the sounds made in this song, along with the rest of the album, seem a little much at times.

The first track that draws my attention is the fourth on the 10-track album, “Introspection.”

“There’s a season when?I will find out where I am/And there’s a reason, and I will someday find the plan,” lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden softly sings during the chorus of the song.

It’s such a great and relatable lyric that it’s hard to not find some sort of meaning within the song.

“Plenty of Girls in the Sea” is another track on the album that stands out slightly more than the others.

I?say this because the song starts off as a lighthearted Beatles-like song and turns oddly dark throughout the chorus.

The remainder of the album is lackluster at best.

I realize MGMT has a unique sound and definitely has its own way of doing things (check out the band’s music videos if you don’t know what I am talking about), but this album is confusing.

There is really no connection from song to song. It’s also hard to grasp what each song is even about.

Maybe it is because of the way the band approached the album.

In 2010, VanWyngarden and the other half of MGMT, Ben Goldwasser, revealed to American Songwriter that MGMT?was working on its next album.

Goldwasser is quoted saying, “Something that’d be fun to do is have a decent number of songs on the album that can easily be extended or have sections that could turn into a really trance-y, repetitive thing live,” he said. “Start off with something and take it somewhere different every time.”

After hearing this quote, the album starts to clarify in my head. But I’m still questioning, why wouldn’t the band make the songs “extended” or “trance-y” in the first place? Why wait until they take the album on tour to do so?

What I get out of that quote is there will be fans that can’t go for whatever the reason, so will they never experience the full album? It just seems unfair.

MGMT has a way of writing a hit song that as soon as you hear the first few notes you know you will be playing it on repeat for the next couple of weeks.

It happened several times in “Oracular Spectacular” with songs like “Electric Feel” and “Kids.”

This album, however, fails to produce a single track with such charm.

The singles that have been announced thus far include “Alien Days,” “Your Life is a Lie” and “Cool Song No. 2,” all of which lack that hit-single stamina.


Story by Savannah Sawyer, Features Editor