MGMT have always been a strange band. Their freshman album, Oracular Spectacular garnered both critical and commercial acclaim with their radio-ready songs in the form of “Time to Pretend” and “Kids.” However, they then switched gears with their subsequent album Congratulations, on which the band decided to focus more on the trippier songs of their debut, abandoning the sound that got them attention. Now, having just released their new single “Alien Days,” it doesn’t look like MGMT are straying far from their decision to delve deeper into the surreal sound of Congratulations.
“Alien Days” opens with a surreal child crooning a couple of verses before frontman Andrew VanWyngarden joins in the chant. MGMT’s lyrics have always been weird, but they have certainly hit a new high on their new single. Verses like “When the peels are down it feels like traveling in style/ You don’t need wings to hover forty ton stones for a mile” are sprinkled throughout the song, adding a mystique and randomness that brings “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” to mind. Besides the delightfully bizarre lyrics, Ben Goldwasser’s work on the keyboard should also be commended. The foreign sounds from his keys and the awkward pacing of the guitars make for a unique experience.
Fans hoping for a backtrack to MGMT’s early days will be disappointed with “Alien Days,” as the single is a sign for their new album to be just as different and peculiar as Congratulations, but fans of their later work should be excited. “Alien Days” is a great single, one that shows the band isn’t slowing down and proves that they can still write good material. People may be put off by the different sound that they are vying for, but those who love MGMT for exactly that reason will love “Alien Days.” The single gives me high hopes for their next album and I am ecstatic to hear more material from it.