Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

Back to Article
Back to Article

Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

Adam Sapit, Entertainment Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






After a 5 year hiatus, popular American psychedelic rock group MGMT released Little Dark Age, their fourth studio album. MGMT gained fame for their poppy singles “Kids” and “Electric Feel” from their 2007 debut album.

Pictured: Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser

Members Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser spent a total of 9 months recording the album, with some help from some outsider musicians. They teased the first single “Little Dark Age” on October 17, 2017, followed by “When You Die” on December 12.

Little Dark Age was met with mostly positive reviews from Metacritic, scoring a 77 out of 100. The Chicago Tribune rates this album at a 3 out of 4, noting that the album opens up slowly. Reviewers seem to agree that the album is a hit.

At first listen, I can tell that Little Dark Age gets a lot of influence from 80’s new wave and pop. This becomes apparent due to the use of synths, voice filters, and classic drum machines. It’s a refreshing sound that clashes against styles from MGMT’s rival artists.

YouTube Music

The album starts out with a track titled “She Works Out Too Much”. This song is about an unmotivated man and his fitness-obsessed girlfriend. This track sounds noticeably claustrophobic, which will throw many people off as they listen to more of the album. “She Works Out Too Much” is a soft opener, but MGMT isn’t known for being too heavy. I enjoy the use of synths on this track.

YouTube Music

The next track is even better. “Little Dark Age” is the polar opposite from the one before. “She Works Out Too Much” had a somewhat cheerful tone to it, but “Little Dark Age” is titled appropriately. This track is darker and slower. This track seems to be influenced by a newer genre of music called synthwave. Synthwave takes its influence from 80’s music as well. It seems like this track is almost completely electronic besides the vocals. Electronic drum machines and synths were utilised in the recording of this track.

YouTube Music

After that comes “When You Die”. This song returns to the more organic format that’s shared with the first track. Guitars are used in place of synths. This track isn’t groundbreaking in terms of composition, but it’s lyrics tell a story. The lyrics describe a deeply cynical person who is fed up with the world and the people in it. That person doesn’t feel any emotion anymore. If you’re not listening closely, you won’t notice that the seemingly cheerful mood the song makes completely contrasts the meaning behind the lyrics.

YouTube Music

“Me and Michael” is almost like an 80’s pop song. A catchy melody accompanied by soft-spoken vocals.  It’s a very cheerful track that reminisces on a friendship that may have been too good. The two in the friendship were ignoring all the “imaginary bombs, raining down from the clouds” that were the signs of a decaying relationship. I find this song to be very rich in meaning. I absolutely love how MGMT can hide some heavy thoughts and deep meanings in such cheerful songs.

YouTube Music

“TSLAMP” is a shift in mood from prior tracks. The track still maintains the usage of synth instruments. “TSLAMP” is another example of how good VanWyngarden is at writing about important issues that one may face. The track is an acronym for Time Spent Looking At My Phone. The lyrics highlight the issue of an excessive technology dependance, especially with phone and social media. The phrase “Time spent looking at my phone” is repeated many times throughout the song. The person the song is about has been online so long, that they are startled by anything out of the ordinary. It’s almost sad to think about, as technology addiction is a real issue now.

YouTube Music

“James” is a tribute to MGMT’s live guitarist James Richardson. This track maintains the 80’s influence of the rest of the album. It’s cheerful and soft. There isn’t much to say about this track. Even lyrically, the song isn’t much. However, it’s still pretty catchy and is worth a listen.

YouTube Music

“Days That Got Away” isn’t much to talk about either. I’d describe it more as an interlude than a full song. This track is an instrumental piece featuring echoey drums and retro synths. Lyrics are as simple as one can get.

YouTube Music

“One Thing Left To Try” is another track packed with meaning. The composition of this track is very similar to the rest of the album. Yet again, the lyrics are written with so much passion and meaning. This track seems to be about a depressed person who wants to turn their life around. The second verse of the song mentions that the person wishes they had done more, and that being a reason they want another chance. They have to draw the line between themselves and the influences of others.

YouTube Music

“When You’re Small” is the moodiest track on the album so far. This track takes more of an acoustic approach, using pianos and acoustic guitar. The track clears up as it progresses and becomes less somber. This track highlights the pros and cons of being a small-time musician. The first half of the track mentions how it can feel pointless going on if nobody knows about you. However, the other half of the track mentions that you don’t have too far to fall if you fail.

YouTube Music

“Hand It Over” closes out the album. Like the last track, this one is also slow. The 80’s influence that was so prominent on this album seems to have tapered off here. What you’re met with is another emotional acoustic piece. VanWyngarden says that this track is “…pretty much directly about Donald Trump becoming president.”. The lyrics are very much politically based. The song goes through all the uncertainty of what’s to come under Trump’s presidency. Much of the US was against what he stood for, but had no choice. They had to hand over control of the presidency to him. This track slowly fades out to silence.

It’s hard to pick a favorite track on Little Dark Age. The one track I’ve found myself listening to the most is “TSLAMP”. I really enjoy the melody and the meaning behind the lyrics. I feel like this song highlights an issue that many are oblivious to today. I rank Little Dark Age higher than any other MGMT album. There’s so much this album did right. As a whole, I like Little Dark Age because it’s something fresh in a music market that seemingly all blends together.

Listen to the album on Spotify here:

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    Now Showing Neotheater

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    Album Review: Nirvana – Bleach

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    A New Adventure Begins…

  • Creative Thoughts

    Spring Flowers

  • Entertainment

    Forgotten

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    The Jonas Brothers Have Reunited

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    An Invasion of…Polar Bears?

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    A New Retelling of a “Tale As Old As Time”

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    Students Give Their Input on Valentines Day

  • Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT

    Entertainment

    Looking for movies or music this holiday season?

Navigate Right
Album Review: Little Dark Age – MGMT