MGMT Gives You Electric Feels


Whitney Patterson

VanWyngarden and Goldwasser perform live at the Southside Ballroom.

Whitney Patterson, Associate Editor

In 2002, two freshmen at Wesleyan University, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, formed a band. The two students experimented with music in their Middletown dorm room, settling on a electronic, psychedelic pop sound that would become a trademark of the group. The band, MGMT, would go on to release their debut LP Oracle Spectacular in 2007, which included synthesized hits such as “Kids” and “Electric Feel” and peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot 200. They eventually reached the high of their popularity in the mid-00s by capitalizing on music that Rolling Stone called “a mix of poker-faced irony, lightly exotic sonics and neo-hippie whimsy.”

Their subsequent two albums were comprised of heavier rock sounds, and didn’t fare as well in the eyes of music critics; however, their most recent release, Little Dark Age, received acclaim for revisiting their earlier sound. In a Rolling Stone interview, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser credited the 2016 election for inspiring some of their lyrics, such as the ones found in the song “Hand It Over.” Yet while even the title of their album is reflective of the current political climate, many of the songs found in the album deal with lighter topics, such as friendship. “Me and Michael” is one such song, which has grown in popularity among fans.

On March 7, the band performed at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas to promote their return to pop. The show was opened by Cola Boyy, a disco-pop singer from Oxnard with a Prince-esque sound. Once VanWyngarden and Goldwasser took the stage, they kicked off the show with “Congratulations,” the final song on their 2010 album. Throughout the show, artistically inclined graphics accompanied their music and contributed to an unforgettable experience. Video of 80s dancers accompanied their funk song “She Works Out Too Much,” and moving neon grids reminiscent of Rainbow Road complimented their song “Time to Pretend,” from the 2005 EP of the same name. The final song of the night was “of Moons, Birds & Monsters,” and the upbeat tempo and lyrics lead to resounding enthusiasm from the audience.

While MGMT’s Little Dark Age is far from the inventive pop that defined them in the mid-2000s, it shows a return to the sound that fans fell in love with in the first place, which is a promising place to restart.