Little Dark Age is a cohesive blend of experimental synth-pop and psychedelia that has displayed MGMT’s evolving sound impeccably. Their work has elevated since their debut album Oracular Spectacular and yet, the record ironically has the continuity of a 70s/80s influence throughout the album.
Nearly the entire album consists of synthesized upbeat indie pop tunes, but the lyrics are all but cheerful bliss. “James”and “Hand it Over” seem to be the only two songs that do not have some sort of negative connotation associated with the lyrics. Lyrics like “Go f*ck yourself / I’m mean, not nice” in “When You Die” and “When you’re low / You reach a certain point / Where you can’t really see the point” in “When You’re Small” sends a clear message of despair but are masked by mesmerizing rhythms.
MGMT found a way to connect their music to current societal fads and is not afraid to say that they’re “sick of liking your selfies” in “She Works Out Too Much”. This has to be one of the most relevant (along with “TSLAMP”) songs that highlights the workout obsession that is taking over social media. With lyrics like “ Maybe I’m in a movie / Maybe I’m out to lunch / But I’m constantly swiping it, tapping / It’s not that relaxing / I need a new routine” blatantly blames social media for his unhappiness and his awareness of not being completely in touch with what is occurring on a daily basis.
Being glued to one’s phone has become a societal norm and “TSLAMP” is a comically honest interpretation of this growing epidemic. After all, the acronym “TSLAMP” is “Time Spent Looking At My Phone”, so I am sure there was a statement to be made with this track.
MGMT found a way to infuse familiar 80’s beats into their usual electronic pop sound. “Me and Michael” could belong in a classic 80’s feel good film where as “Little Dark Age” could be on the soundtrack for the next Stranger Things season.
Little Dark Age is a good album but if you are expecting something that resembles their previous albums, this record has taken a slight turn in the pop direction. The album incorporates conventional instruments like the guitar and drums but also includes its fair share of synthetic instruments and they are best utilized together in “Days That Got Away”.
With only 10 tracks, Little Dark Age, is a great piece of work as a whole. There are songs that may need some warming up to if you have never heard of MGMT, but this is a great first album to invest in for pop or mainstream listeners. For those who are already a part of their established fan base may be more fond of their previous work considering they were more heavily electronically infused albums, but MGMT has not lost who they are and it shows in this album. Their music may have taken a step back in time but Little Dark Age has proven that their lyrics and sound is only maturing with every album released.