Innovated beats keep MGMT sounding unpredictable

Kaanchee Gandhi, Editor-in-Chief

Since their chart toppers released back in 2005 when the duo first started producing music, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have done anything but try to please. After a period of celebratory response to their band MGMT, the pair tossed aside their potential accelerated with the release of their album Congratulations in 2008. Any negative feedback from the album only fueled the band’s motivation to produce increasingly atypical sounds. Once again refusing to give in to fan’s requests to produce more catchy hits, MGMT’s new self-titled album tests the boundaries of music and stays true to the band’s personal taste.

The album, released Sept 17, made Pitchfork’s Most Anticipated Releases for Fall 2013. A week prior to its scheduled release date, the band streamed the entire album exclusively on The album was paired with a hypnotic optimizer featuring eccentric characters and psychedelic video clips to match the mood of each track.

The haunting melody “Alien Days” eases the listener into the album, featuring otherworldly sounds that could be heard in the opening of a sci-fi film. The track was released April 20 on limited edition cassette tapes and vinyl for Record Store Day. In an interview with Rolling Stone, VanWyngarden said the song is, “about that feeling when a parasitic alien is in your head, controlling things.” Vanwyngarden’s deeply sung lyrics, “love those alien days,” resonates in the listeners head like a parasite.

“Cool Song No. 2” is a more accurate representation of the rest of the album’s obscure color. Synthetic jungle sounds paired with futuristic beats create a unduplicatable atmosphere that requires multiple listens to fully appreciate.

The eerie piano chords in “Mystery Disease” remind one of the Goosebumps series opening theme song. VanWyngarden’s carefully enunciated lyrics heard in Congratulations are carried over into the album. The airy voice is best heard with headphones for “Introspection” where it floats carelessly between left and right audio outputs.

Streamed a few months before the album release as well, “Your Life is a Lie” differs dramatically from the rest of the albums synthetic tunes. Featuring a rhythmic cowbell and chanted phrases rather than sung lyrics, the song embeds its title meaning into listener’s brains.

“A Good Sadness,” “Astro-Mancy” and “I Love You Too, Death” bring the album down a few notches with lullaby tones while “Plenty of Girls in the Sea” lift it up again with some of MGMT’s old, clever lyrical techniques and catchy rhythm.

The album ends with the wind down song “An Orphan of Fortune,” the second longest song on the album nearing six minutes. The track’s fusion of genres and prophetic lyrics makes it an appropriate song to close the nebulous album with.

Mixed reviews over the album’s obscurity are sure to have little effect on the band’s confidence in their music ability. Visit to stream the entire album and optimizer for free.