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Congratulations- MGMT

So MGMT's second album "Congratulations" leaked yesterday, and the band has so kindly put the album up on their website (whoismgmt.com) for anyone to stream. Having just finished listening to the album, I feel that I must comment on it.

At first I thought that this album was going to suck. Their first album was so good I doubted that they'd be able to follow up on it. While "Oracular Spectacular" had many great pop moments ("Time to Pretend", "Kids", "The Youth", "Electric Feel"), MGMT's new album certainly doesn't have as many. Their pop moments do shine on tracks like "It's Working" and "Brian Eno", but for the most part the album is just really, really bizarre. There's a 12 minute long song called "Siberian Breaks" that changes style like 6 times in it. The album flies by rather quickly, but it leaves you totally satisfied. It's already a top 5 album of the year for me.

How do others feel about this album?

Re: Congratulations- MGMT

I'm all for experimentation and creative left turns, but they've all but abandoned any of the immediacy of their first record. This new one is "out there", to say the least.

I don't even know if it's about cajones. In fact, I can't decide if it's a step forward, or like three or four, or a step backward. More than anything, this album actually reinforces my working conspiracy theory that these guys (the main two) are rich NYC boys from privaleged backgrounds who had loads of keyboards and instruments at their disposal, managed to write a few catchy tunes, got signed, and are now out to basically fuck with everyone (the record companies, the general public, etc.), because... well, they can. They're talented AND loaded; equal parts artists, jokers and apathists, and they don't care about commerical success because they already have money.


- album covers (both are ridiculous, and arguably, hideous)
- album titles denoting a significant occurrence/achievement ("Spectacular"; "Congratulations")
- style (look at they way these dudes dress. Again, ridiculous.)
- instruments (VanWyngarden uses a rare sunburst vintage Gibson electric guitar)
- lyrics that are way too self-assured, and contain clever hidden clues: "We've got the vision, now let's have some fun."; "We're fated to pretend", etc.
- producers (Dave Fridmann, for their debut album)
- suggesting a FREE giveaway of their new album, after the album was leaked to the internet
- Columbia's don't-so-much-as-raise-an-eyebrow reaction to the new album "Are you sure this is what you want out there? Yeah? Ok." (Meanwhile, an acclaimed band like Klaxons, who incidentally won a small prize for their debut, are forced to re-record their follow-up album, because it's too different.)
- a 12-minute song, and an instrumental song, on a record with only 9 songs

The point here simply, is this: this album will either sink like a stone, permanently, or with time become a (EDIT: cult) classic (kinda like how Pinkerton did). Could go either way.

EDIT: Probably the former.

Re: Congratulations- MGMT

Something about the new one is addicting. My very first listen gave me a lukewarm impression. But the atmosphere was dreamy and altogether very different from Oracular. I realized I wanted to listen to it again. Lukewarm but inviting is always a good sign. Kid A and Silent Shout were the same way. And like those two classics, Congratulations has really grown on me after, now, 5 listens. I just told my friend (who was disappointed by it) that I think I may like it better than the debut now.

Nothing is catchy or immediate, but as a whole, it sure goes down well, and keeps me coming back. Exactly why it works, is hard to say.

Re: Congratulations- MGMT

I mentioned the point about the 12 minute song to a friend of mine, and said that I thought it was a step in the right direction. But he said that he think it's them just acting cool and being a bit "out there" from their counterparts in the music biz. It's getting harder and harder to just judge it based on its music, but if i did, I'd say I like it less. But in my heart I think that it leaves more promise for the future than Oracular Spectacular did, broadening horizons and all that.

Oh yeah, musically it's approaching Animal Collective, I said, and my friend groaned at it. Original? Nah, not really.

Re: Congratulations- MGMT

The problem for me isn't that the album isn't immediate - the problem is that it's just boring. The best musical ideas sound like lesser approximations of 60s Pink Floyd and Deerhunter. The rest just kind of floats by aimlessly. There are some decent tracks, and the album is less irritating than the worst parts of their debut, but all in all, it's pretty forgettable to me. They really aren't doing anything particularly interesting or innovative, and the songwriting is kind of weak. Oh well, win some lose some.