Maybe “Congratulations” or Maybe Not: MGMT’s New Album

04/06/2010


MGMT’s new album, Congratulations, has received mixed press. The album is stirring the critic pool, causing wakes which might be intended. As Michael Roffman from Consequence of Sounds wrote in his review, “The boys behind MGMT want to tell you something. It’s short and to the point. That message? Thanks for listening, but fuck you.” In comparison Culture Bully stated “the record is hardly as unlistenable as some have made it out to seem; the album retains a continuous flow and offers a variety of different sounds within the larger umbrella of modern psychedelic rock.”

It’s hard to say whether Ben Goldwasser’s apology in an interview with Spinner Magazine is sincere, and why should it? Regarding their fans’ negative response towards the first single “Flash Delirium,” Goldwasser told Spinner, “I’m sure there are plenty of people who think it’s completely weird and not what they were expecting. I’m sorry.” Sorry won’t cut it bub, I want another “Kids,” make me dance!

All the hoopla and critique have left SFCritic wondering: What’s the big deal? With Oracular Spectacular, MGMT took the world by storm and soon after (and in this order), Rolling Stone magazine awarded the album eighteenth best of the decade. In essence, if a “music critic” didn’t review this album it ought to be for the reason of political resistant, or a death wish to one’s general credibility. But in this instance, when an album like Congratulations winds up on your doorstep, it’s like that baby you never intended to adopt: it could change your life, for better or for worse, or it could be just a story. I mean the album is THAT important to everyone, right? Who cares about waiting to review the album after the scheduled release date?

In the Spinner interview, Goldwasser stated that fame is “not our world. We don’t feel comfortable in it. But we didn’t want to make that typical second album either, about fame. So we’re definitely observing it, as opposed to reveling in it.”Kudos sir. Who needs those “I love MGMT” fans who knew only three of your songs (“Kids,” “Time to Pretend,” and “Electric Feel”). I’m sure Milli Vanilli would roll in his grave over your career decision, Congratulations.

All things considered, MGMT might be saying “fuck you,” but who are we to tell them what to say? Who wants a fair-weather fan? Who gives a shit what such and such blog has to say? “Here you go blogs, Congratulations. Here’s out album, whatever, fight amongst yourselves for editorial supremacy, see if we care!” So being SFCritics, we feverishly debated over a cold one and thought to share bits of our conversation–not because it makes a difference, but because we like to read our thoughts. Congratulations for reading.

*While listening to the album*


Eve: Why make a such a huge departure from the first album? Why not have singles? You were actually really good at singles MGMT. What’s wrong with being good at something, huh?

David: Yeah, I’m not good at anything. I don’t think they should be sorry though. I mean, I doubt they’re really sorry, but even so–their job is to make music, not win a popularity contest.

Eve: Making something totally different is one thing; it doesn’t have to be bad, it could be great–but it’s not. It sounds like a musical, like the Wiz or some horror score. [“Lady Dada’s Nightmare” plays] I’ve been listening to it all day. This song sucks too.

David: Why is a wretched woman screaming off at the top of her lungs? I was scared when I was eight and heard “Thriller,” but this is ten folds more intense. Whether it’s one in the same maybe after fifteen more plays I’ll have a better answer, but why give it fifteen plays?

Eve: I suppose I can respect them if the point is doing something creative. Oracular Spectacular had these three really great singles, and for many people that’s MGMT. Now, this album doesn’t have really any stand-out singles, which they communicated on NPR. Unfortunately it also isn’t very good.

David: If they had put out an album that sounded just like the last one, and then on top of that it was awful, that would be tragic. The album is either like a bad joke, and the jokes on us for either liking it or hating it–or well, I don’t know–it’s a bad joke right?