My Case For “Congratulations”

When I listened to MGMT’s sophomore album, “Congratulations” for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I was not into it. After I saw the music video for the track called “Flash Delirium”, I decided to give it another listen.

A lot of people seem to be dismissing “Congratulations” and I feel that this is because they wanted another upbeat, psychedelic single similar to “Time to Pretend”, “Kids”, or “Electric Feel”. I feel that the band is trying to say something through this video. It’s likely that the eel represents “Electric Feel” and MGMT’s old singles and I think that the machine that the eel is put in represents mainstream music. When the eel is put in the machine, all hell breaks lose. I think that MGMT is trying to say that they don’t want to be mainstream and that they want their album to be thought of as an album instead of a collection of singles. I kept this in mind when I gave “Congratulations” a second chance and I was happy I did.

The album evokes a psychedelic, Beatles/Kink’s feel. If it was a little less trippy, I would easily believe that it was released in the sixties. The third track, “Someone’s Missing” picks up at the end but fades as quickly as it comes. It’s as if MGMT is trying to avoid another mainstream hit. “Flash Delirium” is the closet thing to a  stand-alone single because it captures most of the album in a little over four minutes. It has a flute solo, you have to love that.

“I Found A Whistle” is pretty mellow, but it’s probably my favorite song of the album.

“Siberian Breaks” is awesome because it is over twelve minutes long and it has so many different parts to it. It starts with haunting, echoing voices, then morphs into the part of the album that sounds most like the Beatles. It then almost sounds like an animal collective song, and then mellows out with more echoing voices. It then picks up unexpectedly and fades out again.

“Brian Eno” is probably the second most upbeat song, behind “Flash Delirium”.

I’m pretty sure “Lady Dada’s Nighmare” is a shout-out to Lady Gaga. It probably the darkest sounding song on the album and MGMT has refernced Lady Gaga before.

And “Congratulations” is a good and breezy end to the album, that wraps it up well.

I feel the title of the album reflects their success from their first album. This album is about the way they are reacting to the fame from that album and about how they don’t want that kind of fame.


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