On the march to releasing their first full-length in four years, MGMT
debuted the music video for their second single "When You Die", off the upcoming Little Dark Age
Thematically, "When You Die" follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, the titular "Little Dark Age," that was the group's first piece of new music released ever since their self-titled album in 2013. There have always been elements of the dark and macabre in the synth-pop duo's work, elements that have been pursued to greater lengths over their latest products and again in "Little Dark Age" and "When You Die". I mean, just take a look at the choice of song titles and lyrical content of the two songs and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about.
Again, this isn't anything new, take a look at their two biggest hits from Oracular Spectacular
, "Kids" and "Time To Pretend", and beneath the synthy, cheeky instrumentation there has always been not quite doom and gloom, but perhaps a certain amount of anhedonia and unease. This was ramped up a bit in "Little Dark Age", but "When You Die" seems to point to a shift back to the group's dynamic from the days of Oracular Spectacular
If you closed your eyes and tuned out the lyrics, "When You Die" plays with the same psych-pop-rock sound from the days of old, at least in comparison to the relatively ham-fisted approach in "Little Dark Age". A psychedelic-melancholia in line with some early Modest Mouse
is accentuated by a Chinese guzheng that seemingly contradicts the message of "I'm ready to blow my brains out".
It's interesting charting the progression of MGMT, a group that, like many others, couldn't seem to emulate the wild success that they found in their first album. Yet in the two singles we've heard from Little Dark Age
, there may just yet be a sign that they're on to something. That something might be incredibly depressing, but it is something, and right now, at least it sounds good.