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What I’m listening to this week: MGMT

April 24, 2009
Oracular Spectacular – 2008
The description that pops into my mind first when I hear this album is “glam rock”. MGMT‘s Andrew Van Wyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have intentionally attempted to redefine the term so that it’s something closer to melodic spacey synth-pop, without losing that dirty, intriguing 1970s rock star edge. Maybe it’s that redefinition that makes Oracular Spectacular so great; both seemingly simplistic and grand at the same time.

The album begins with their biggest single “Time to Pretend”, a fuzzy, sublime ode and lament to the over-indulgent rock star lifestyle. “Weekend Wars” and “Pieces of What” sound like the Rolling Stones if they’d never started playing adult-friendly guitar rock. “Electric Feel” could have pretty convincingly been a great disco song if disco ever sounded that down and dirty. “Kids” is a perfectly bittersweet swirling synth epic (with an amusing story involving the current French president to boot), while “The Handshake” is an achievement in creepy multi-part art rock that pays major homage to another glam-rock artist’s “Ground Control to Major Tom”.

Oracular Spectacular definitely picks up elements from other bands, not to mention the understandable influence of the Flaming Lips, but it still sounds fresh and thoughtful. MGMT used those bits and pieces to create a fascinating and current album worthy of the buzz.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 8, 2010 10:09 pm

    I adore MGMT… THANK YOU for writing about these guys. I heart what they’re doing BIG TIME. Kids was my anthemic song of 2009.

    BTW, have you seen Toby Wan Kenobi?

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