By: Grant White
It’s no secret that the popular psychedelic synth-pop group MGMT is coming out with a new album soon dubbed Little Dark Age, but with an unsatisfactory critical reception of the band’s past two albums, can we expect this one to be any good?
MGMT has stuck around in the music world since 2007 with the release of their debut album Oracular Spectacular, which proved to be a commercial hit thanks to singles like “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feel,” and “Kids.” However, the following two albums, Congratulations and MGMT, didn’t quite reach the mainstream success of the first.
Judging by the three singles released for the upcoming Little Dark Age, it would appear that MGMT is ready to be back in the mainstream. Each song shows off a unique approach to a more modernized synth-pop sound, and though they sound rhythmically different on the surface, each seem loosely connected in a way that will hopefully tie the album together in a clever, sensible way. So if the other seven unreleased songs act in a similarly interesting way, this could prove to be a revival of MGMT.
The first single, “Little Dark Age,” comes across as simple at first, but the catchy chorus and soundtrack-quality beat soon leave you wanting more after the tune fades out. Though not the first track of the finalized album, this first single sets up an unusually dark tone for the album through both its strange sounds and creepy lyrics. These aspects, coupled with the fact that the cover art is taken directly from a Japanese horror manga, suggest Little Dark Age could be full of serious and macabre themes.
The next single, “When You Die,” furthers this possibility predominantly through its equally unsettling lyrics, which are curiously hidden under a seemingly upbeat psychedelic rhythm. Centered around death and a disturbingly trippy music video, “When You Die,” proves that the album is headed for horror in at least a few more of the unreleased songs.
The third and last single, “Hand It Over,” is set to be the tenth and final track of the album. Since it has a very slow metre as opposed to the other singles, it appears that MGMT ends the album differently than it starts, on a much more relaxed vibe. Though not the most catchy song, “Hand It Over” is very lyrically driven and arguably the most psychedelic thus far. It’s strange to listen to the unsettling errieness of “Little Dark Age” and “When You Die” and then skip straight into such a relaxed finisher, and I’m curious as to why MGMT set their singles up in this way (and of course excited to find out once the album is released).
With the music videos of these three singles already garnering a total of nearly 11 million views on a Vevo YouTube channel of only 416,000 subscribers, it would certainly appear that there is an audience for this album eagerly awaiting its release. If the rest of Little Dark Age is as good as these singles, there is not doubt in my mind that nearly everyone will be talking about MGMT for years to come.
If you’re nostalgic of MGMT’s previous Oracular Spectacular hits, then I would recommend giving this album a listen as soon as it is available to the public this week on February 9th.