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Track Review: MGMT ‘Me & Michael’

They’re not making music for millennials anymore. In fact, they’re not trying too.

Ryan Feyre

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The return of MGMT in February of 2018 was a glorious one.

Their fourth full-length album, Little Dark Age, featured a plethora of pop anthems with memorable choruses. The record possesses a mysterious tone that reaches its apex on the fourth track, “Me & Michael,” a synth-heavy ballad about embracing your inner-creativeness. 

Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser wanted to create a story that was ambiguous and eventful, something “that gets you pumped up,” without ever understanding the message. They accomplished that feat with “Me & Michael,” and found a new sound in the process. 

My love for MGMT began after the release of 2007’s Oracular Spectacular, when hit singles like “Time to Pretend” and “Kids” dominated the radio waves for much of my middle school career. The band’s offbeat personalities, and motivation made them stand out among that year’s pop performers. 

“Me & Michael,” brings the nostalgia, those days when the band was at the peak of its relevance (and weirdness). This time around, the message is clearer, and more focused. VanWyngarden and Goldwasser aren’t the same kids who stumbled onto fame, looking for an audience who will buy into their off-kilter aesthetic. 

MGMT creates a tone that can reach even larger audiences on “Me & Michael.” Sure, their classic obscure theme is present within the songwriting, but the dreamy keys and killer bass are what really stands out.

The band’s atmospheric vocals travel through the drums and fleshy synths as if listeners are being catapulted back into the 1980s, when times were simpler. 

Their growing maturity radiates through each drum kick, solidifying themselves as a band that needs to be taken seriously, even 11 years after their so-called prime.

They’re not making music for millennials anymore. In fact, they’re not trying too. “Me & Michael” is a song about loving life, which is ironic considering the album’s title, and dark imagery. 

The track shows that MGMT is not the same band as they were five years ago, when their last album was released. Finally, they’re making music that they want too, notably without fans breathing down their neck (which has always angered them).

With their newfound freedom, the duo continues to inspire people who grew up with them — like me. And while “Me & Michael” isn’t necessarily about anything specific, MGMT’s sentimental tone still dominates their aesthetic, bringing happiness to people from all generations, even in their little dark age.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Ryan is a Communications major student at Salem State University. He’s written for the pop culture websites, The Young Folks and Fansided. Currently, Ryan is working to finish his degree, and in his free time, he enjoys listening to music, going to the movies, and playing basketball.

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