MGMT is a dissapointment
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 23:09
“Did you hear that they almost lost their minds? Yeah, they were on like a month long acid trip and then they made this album.” I heard versions of this from three different friends about MGMT’s latest album, “The Optimizer,” released September 17th.
I could believe it, after listening to the entire album. But I believed it when I first spotted the track list. With names like “Alien Days” and “Introspection,” I knew I was in for a weird journey through their music; one that involved a song called “I Love You Too, Death.”
Intrigued? I want to stop you here if you loved the album because I honestly didn’t. The rest of the review won’t ignorantly bash it, but it will stress the disappointment I felt the first time around. We all know and love “Kids” and “Electric Feel,” but these songs sound nothing like the group’s famous hits.
But no worries. I researched some interviews conducted by music magazines and websites like SPIN and apparently the duo isn’t trying to make music that people understand the first time around. This may just be the case – their latest album really needs to grow on you. Even at the second listen, I liked the album a little more.
What is known for certain about the making of the album is the fact that Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser spent more time alone in a cabin in Buffalo, N.Y., than working with a live band, which they did on the last record. Most of the sounds showcased are electronically produced.
The duo’s album is jam packed with heavily distorted melodies that almost always drown out their dizzying and nostalgic-touched singing. It emanates strong pulses of weird. Just plain weird. It starts with “Alien Days” and spoken words over buzzing that fades into relaxed guitar strumming, space-like sound effects and dreamier vocals. I honestly couldn’t make sense of the next song, “Cool Song No. 2.” Perhaps it’s just for cool people to understand. Take a shot at it.
“Mystery Disease” wasn’t all that bad, but I think it’s the offbeat yet somehow catchy drums and female-like vocals that made it. After that comes “Introspection,” which provides an optimistic and upbeat sound before diving into the weird sounds of “Your Life Is A Lie” and “A Good Sadness.” The album ended well with “An Orphan of Fortune,” a hazy song that seems to drag each note and circle them around and around.
There’s no doubt that the group went through some significant effort in producing this album- everything was new and unlike anything I’ve ever heard. There’s also no doubt that MGMT wants their listeners to find more than just a catchy beat to their songs; they want people to really take the songs in and for each song to hold meaning to the listener. It’ll just take a little dedication.
Songs to listen to: “Introspection” “An Orphan of Fortune”