By Aimee Huckeba
Album: Little Dark Age
Release Date: February 9, 2018
Little Dark Age is the highly anticipated fourth album of psych-electronic duo, MGMT. Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser met as freshmen at Wesleyan University and have been releasing their mind-bending music for over a decade. Most millennials that listen to indie music have grooved to their hits “Electric Feel” and “Kids” at least once in their lives. MGMT’s Little Dark Age brings us back to their roots, incorporating the same up-tempo cohesive feel from their debut, Oracular Spectacular, that their two middle albums did not quite portray. It is a marvel that the band deviated from their experimental records, Congratulations and MGMT, giving the fans what they craved and knew the duo could produce. Because Little Dark Age offers an abundance of catchy rhythms, anybody can find a melody that intrigues them in at least one track. I have kept this new album on repeat since its release and it deserves nothing short of millions of streams.
Every song on this album has different elements of eclectic vocals and instruments, meaning each track needs to be discussed. Beginning with the opener, “She Works Out Too Much;” the decline of a relationship due to one partner being more physically active than the other leading to conflicts is a real-life problem that is not typically discussed in music. Some find this electro-pop track a comical portrayal of the situation.
The second song is the title track and the most captivating one on this record. From the first play I realized this is everything I envisioned new wave indie music to be, from the vocals to synthesizers to the way it left me feeling. I replayed this track for an embarrassing amount of time because I could not fully fathom everything it offers. It was the first single released by the band since 2013, giving fans a promising idea of what this project is going to deliver.
Following this, “When You Die” is another that was released prior to the album. It gives an Ariel Pink aura, who actually helped with this specific track. Next is “Me and Michael,” an ambiguous song that sends you to an 80s utopia. My friend described her first listen to this song as an “out of body experience,” and I concur. Another song that transports you to the 80s is “One Thing Left To Try.” The nostalgia is heard immediately from the opening beat and can easily apt onto any dance party playlist.
“TSLAMP” is the fifth song and it stands for “Time Spent Looking At My Phone.” The duo sings about the dismal reality of how people spend majority of time hyper focused on screens. The lyrics, “Find me staring at my phone, I’m wondering where the hours went as I’m losing consciousness,” can be a harsh realization that makes you consider where you waste your time and how unfulfilling technology can be.
The following song is “James,” the crowned jewel of Little Dark Age. Although the other tracks are dazzling, this one stands out a bit more. The vocals are deep and welcomes a companion who they call “my little doll.” This is a comforting song about unrelenting friendship that has catchy drums and a smooth french horn along with twinkles of synth in the background.
“Days That Got Away” repeats the same line and echoes to an infinite place while the intro sounds as though we’ve boarded a futuristic spaceship. Undoubtedly the most eerie track is “When You’re Small.” This one features guitar and bass layered with a vibraphone (similar to an xylophone, except the bars are metal) and more synth.
The spotless closer that ties the whole project together is “Hand It Over.” This one sends my mind to another dimension because of the harmonies in the chorus and the way the song shifts from left to right through my speakers. Little Dark Age is MGMT’s unsurpassed album and is streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.