The youth are starting to change
Remember back in 2008, when songs from MGMT's Dave Fridmann-produced debut album, Oracular Spectacular, were all over the radio? With psychedelic electro-pop jams like “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feel” and “Kids,” a couple of art students from Wesleyan (Connecticut) were making the type of music that simultaneously appealed to young, arty weirdos and their moms.
So of course, with that type of crossover appeal, the major labels came calling. But even on a blockbuster debut for Columbia, it felt like Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden were getting away with something, shaking hands with the big wigs while holding the other arm behind their backs with fingers crossed. It's tough to read “The Handshake” any other way, really: “I just shook the handshake, I just sealed the deal/I'll try not to let them take everything they can steal/... I was a loner, I was just waiting by myself/When you, warped temptress, rose to bring me happiness and wealth.”
The next record, Congratulations, was trippier but a little less poppy, then two more albums came and went. Last year's synth-heavy, Fridmann-produced Little Dark Age has been described as a return to form for MGMT, but it doesn't hold a candle to Oracular Spectacular. These two college buddies inadvertently set the bar too high too early. (Think twice)