Little Dark Age Album Review - MGMT

Story posted February 15, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Jenna Minnig

On their last two albums, MGMT dug themselves into a deep ditch with what seemed like no hope of return. After their fifteen minutes of fame with the breakout album Oracular Spectacular, the music that followed for the band was experimental to an extreme. It was difficult to listen to, let alone even enjoy. On their most recent release, Little Dark Age, the band makes a miraculous return to the indie-pop music scene with an evident movement towards a more mainstream method of experimenting and a crisp new sound.

The album opens on a fresh foot with the track “She Works Out Too Much.” The four minutes in this song are anything but boring. A mix of synthesizers and jazz inspirations, accompanied by a brief narration, takes listeners through an experience where they are left wanting more. Opening the record with this overwhelming and upbeat track sets high expectations for an outstanding album to follow.

MGMT are the typical American indie-rock band; they formed in college with two founding members. The duo started out with a heavy, psychedelic sound on their top-selling debut album from 2007. Eleven years and two albums later, the band has returned to their original roots with a laser focus towards appealing to a larger audience. MGMT succeeded in their ambitions to reach a larger crowd on Little Dark Age by still creating satisfying music, but with the direction towards a more traditional pop arrangement.

However, Little Dark Age remains unique amongst most mainstream pop music heard today. It carries a distinct 80s inspired sound through the 10 album tracks, yet each song is still packed with something different. While the opening track is a trip, MGMT slows the speed down on the song “Me and Michael.” The band’s efficiency in achieving several different styles of equally enjoyable songs just affirms the progression they have made in their creative abilities over their five year break. It is clear that a short break from music is exactly what the band needed to get their creative juices in circulation again.

If the musical elements weren’t enough, most of the songs on this record contain a deeper message. The duo sings about the age of technology, a changing society and even heavier topics like death. MGMT is capable of mixing upbeat songs with darker lyrics in order to transform the album into something deeper than just pop music. These standout elements are what will make this an impressionable album in the band’s discography. 

Although Little Dark Age is not a new or exclusive sound for the world of indie-pop music, it is an exceptional album for MGMT. This duo from Brooklyn was able to completely reconstruct their style into a more listener-friendly sound with fun, upbeat songs. With a high number of bands and musicians trying to return to the charts after one hit breakout album, MGMT succeeded in their efforts. With more music like this, they will be sure to stick around for some time. 

Rating: 7/10

 

Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at jkm5756@psu.edu.