After visiting Brooklyn for a brief night over Spring Break, I can understand why great music comes from there. I might be swayed by Zaytoons, this AMAZING and AFFORDABLE Middle Eastern restaurant on Myrtle Ave. If you live in the area or are planning to visit Manhattan/NY, please make your way over there and try their menu. As much as I love music, that’s how much I love food.
Anyway, back to the album. This sophomore album (as MGMT and not The Management) by this Brooklyn-based band can be described in one word: surrealism. But of course, I am not one to be so trite. SO, here continues my review.
We got a taste of what’s in store when they released their wildly odd track, “Flash Delirium,” attached to an even weirder video. They apologized for any confusion arising from the track — which I found pretty funny and charming. Apologizing for their weirdness? Okay. You guys are legit. I’m glad their Grammy nominations didn’t blow their heads up. But it definitely influenced the direction of their album. After their sudden popularity and nomination bill appearance, MGMT responded with Congratulations. The “Flash Delirium” video says it all: apathy for the congratulations from the “elite” white folks of the Grammy committee. I’m sure the guys of MGMT are completely grateful but there was definitely a reason why these guys decided to not release a new album until this year: count three years. Each track is tinged with a circus-like quality with several melodies tied into a singular track. They do a much better job of that than the ghastly Black Eyed Peas crew. *Will I Am, I despise you as a producer* Watch out for any imagery of “Monster Mash” or Halloween that pops up into your head as you listen, they packed in lots of eerie keyboard synths and frontman Andrew VanWyngarden’s signature echo-reverbs. I totally imagine this being the soundtrack to a Halloween party. Maybe they should have had an October release. Though slightly inconsistent with what they’re trying to achieve in this album, it keeps me interested even past their instrumental track, “Lady Dada’s Nightmare,” Dada (or Dadaism) most definitely referring to the anti-art movement during the mid 1910s to 1920s. And I like that the album ends with a track like “Congratulations.” It is stripped of all the chaotic electronics and flutes and animal noises. Acoustic guitar, simple bass line, repetitive drum beat, and a simple harp-like line: it’s as if it’s time for the listener to wake up and recollect themselves from what they have experienced from their surreal adventure. And the applause is spectacular. Congratulations will be officially released April 13, but you can preview it on their website.
Favorite track: “Song for Dan Tracy” is one of the two songs on the album with names in them. Many people don’t know this, but I have a weird attraction to songs with names in them. No idea who Dan Tracy is, but we learn about him in this song and his funny antics. The track is completely danceable and upbeat and the lyrics are quite funny.
Rating: They’re performing at Coachella this year. I don’t know if all these electronics and soft voices will work well with the festival setting. I imagine them performing in a smaller cafe setting — this album just feels too studio-heavy to me. I’ve seen them perform on campus a few years ago and their stage presence wasn’t really there. But then this was before they decided to wear capes on stage. Maybe I’ll be surprised at Coachella and they’ll blow my mind.