Album Review: MGMT’s “Congratulations”

Now this album is a very pleasant surprise. A pleasant surprise, indeed! I thought Oracular Spectacular was okay. Songs like “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend” (my personal album favorite) certainly made MGMT not only a recognizable brand, but offered a defined and recognizable sound. But, despite a few indelible singles, something was always really fucking irritating about the band and the album. I don’t know about you, reader, but this dirty fucking hipster always found something terribly inorganic about OS. So, as a result, I never bought the record, never attended an MGMT show (which I had heard were awful, anyway) and never gave a thought to keeping up with their goings on. Fortunately for the band, they might have achieved the ultimate conversion: this stubborn, music-righteous dirty hipster just might be a fan now. Boy, I hope Titus Andronicus is reading this right now.

<i>Congratulations</i> from MGMT

'Congratulations' from MGMT

Congratulations starts out with a song, “It’s Working,” that had me hitting ‘pause’ and calling my friend to rave about how impressed I was; and to ask if what I was listening to was really MGMT. It certainly wasn’t the MGMT I remember hearing buzz by in every third car going down Metropolitan in the fall of 2007. It is rather off that a band who had built up so much support with their debut release decided to completely, and I mean completely, redefine their sound. And it is rather astounding that they were able to do so with such deft facility. It’s a whole new sound MGMT have cultivated, and it’s far superior to the old sound.

Stereogum cited a slew of influences that were apparent in the record, from David Bowie to The Beatles, The Kinks to Pink Floyd (and, to be honest, none of these comparisons are all that off-base, especially The Kinks comparison). Positing the band in such rarified air one would thing that Stereogum were sold hook, line and sinker on Congratulations, but, for some reason, they maintain that the jury is still out on the album’s merits. Well, this dirty hipster knows good music when he hears it and he’s not afraid to jump the fence and take a stand. This is a great, great album.


MGMT’s “Flash Delirium”

I suppose I’ve been getting a series of good recommendations because it’s been a while since I didn’t rave about a release. (She & Him didn’t release anything, I just happened to find and immediately hate them.) I’m going to leave lengthy description and summary aside on this one – as I suppose I seem to do anyway. Go into this one fresh. This is a different band. It’s corny, but I have to say, Congratulations deserves one gigantic cheer of “congratulations!” It’s musical, it’s brave and creative, and catchy as all hell. Certainly a lot of serious borrowing here, but that’s for another post. (And, it’s also not necessarily a bad thing. Zeppelin ! was, after all, more or less a series of borrowed blues progressions and lyrics.)

There will be another article on this album soon. There is something iconically Hipster about it and I’m looking forward to getting a little theoretical and writing a proper essay. Stay tuned, reader. In the meantime, either get on MGMT’s website to stream the album, or hop on iTunes and pay for a copy. -DFH

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One Response to “Album Review: MGMT’s “Congratulations””

  1. sickmachine Says:

    Hey kids! Im too cool for Indie, just like you, But i approve this message!

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