I saw MGMT live at the Barclay’s Center when I was an undergrad. It was Friday the 13th and my friend and I got thirteen-dollar tattoos before the concert. I had been a fan of MGMT since high school and the trippy, 1960s-style trance music was one of the things my friend and I bonded over besides weed and psychedelics. In honor of these young adult vices, my friend and I decided to candy-flip before the concert for the first time. It seemed like the band had designed the concert just for us. The lilting, naturalistic melodies and the soft-spoken lyrics melded with the melted paint-smeared light show that stood as the backdrop for the band. It was beautiful, just as beautiful in college as it was in high school. And now years later they have proven that they can do it again.
MGMT’s latest track “Mother Nature” from the upcoming album Loss of Life is less a departure from their well-known hippie dance vibes and more of a show of proof that they have no need to change their sound to keep relevant. In a moment of club music and synthesized chorus’, MGMT remains refreshingly clean and simple. It’s what makes it such comforting music for both potheads and daytime ravers.
The single sets a joyful stage, one that reminds the listener of the beauty of nature and of community. Somehow the blend of the loneliness of suburbia reminds us that companionship both with other people and with the earth are some of the most valuable pieces of humanity. All MGMT singles are like this. Both melancholy and hopeful.
I will never forget the end of the concert when my friend and I attempted to head out only to realize that my friend was tripping a bit too hard to make it out of the venue. The night ended in an adventure that lasted until the morning, involving a lack of sleep, some wild ramblings, and a now infamous selfie that additional detail will only serve to confuse anyone reading this. It was an exhausting and bizarre experience at the time but looking back now, the memory feels awash in youthful indecision and whimsy. The very basis of MGMT’s music at large. Heavy and sunny and forever young even after fifteen years and so many changes in the cultural stratosphere. Yet their music is as beautiful as ever. The experience of looking at a selfie is now a decade old.