Friday, April 9, 2010

On MGMT - 'Congratulations'

UPDATE [4/12/09 - 6:52 p.m.]: As I previously noted, I'm secure enough in my Pitchfork readership (in a not-self-hating way) to say that I agree with most everything this review says. But a few add-ons. One: This is an 8 or 9, not 6.8. But that's Pitchfork's thing, I think.
Two, there's no tabula rasa for Pitchfork going into a review, generally, or this one specifically. It's all relative to previous albums and the band itself. Not a bad thing. This album got the same score as MGMT's first from Pitchfork. But they're so different. Oracular Spectacular was fun at points, and solid overall. This album, is a whole 'nother animal. The samples, the styles incorporated. The way it's all over the place, but all right there at the same time. The obvious pivot in the direction of the band. And still doing it well. In that sense, this album is better than their first. There, I said it. Go. Buy. It. Now. Right. Now. Or tomorrow, when it's on sale. Go. Go. Go.

Here I was, trying to take a break from picking up records until next weekend's Record Store Day 2010. But I heard I had the chance to get MGMT's new album 'Congratulations' on vinyl before it's April 13 release day from a local shop here in D.C. and I wasn't about to pass it up. First few tracks in, I'm really glad I didn't.

Whoever's reading this -- my friends included -- probably saw a post on the hipster-favorite-turned-not-favorite band and closed the window. But if you're still with me, allow me to defend myself and MGMT. First, MGMT's first album, I don't care what you say, was a great record. The most common complaint I hear about it is that it was overplayed. Fair enough, but that's not the record's fault, and certainly not the band's fault. Blame your friends, the radio, the Internet, whatever. The first effort was great -- and this second album seems to shaping up in much the same way.

But, from what I've heard thus far, this is NOT Oracular Spectacular Part II. The first three tracks very much live up to the category of music of the first but it's different too. No surprise so far that its name is 'Congratulations.' Sounds upbeat. A bit of a sonic victory lap. Reminds me of the rumors that Kanye West is set to release an album called 'Good Ass Job.' Too bad MGMT didn't go that route... really piss the haters off.

I'll wrap up this post here and get back to listening. But what I really wanted to do was mount a defense for MGMT. OK, 'Kids' was overplayed. So was 'Electric Feel'...etc. etc. but certainly it wasn't the band taking control of your party's sound system, playing their own songs over and over and over again. Just have a listen.


  1. Let the haters hate. If the hipsters are that insecure about what music they like then they can't call themselves music fans in my book.

    Super jealous you got this early. Is it too much to hope for a full review?

  2. Perhaps a review before the weekend is over. I always have a hard time giving anything a solid review-ish once over on vinyl, since it's tough (re: impossible) to back up 30 seconds, re-listen to a section and that sort of thing.

    But, maybe I'll try and download a leaked version. The MP3 site that came with the vinyl isn't even live yet.