Little Dark Age



by DropTune USER (65 Reviews)
March 1st, 2018 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Just as delirious and strange as it needs to be.

MGMT, at one point, was considered to be the next big thing. Their subtle crawl into the spotlight made Oracular Spectacular one of the most important albums of its time. MGMT came out of nowhere and listeners were wrapped in the intrigue of what made MGMT so special. After a few hit-and-miss records, MGMT came back with a vengeance *ten years* after their landmark achievement. Little Dark Age is MGMT’s attempt at finding a new identity. They aren’t emulating their past, but rather creating their future. That leaves the question if Dark Age is the comeback MGMT needs.

Little Dark Age is an odyssey of callbacks and retro beats. 80’s style synths, ambiance, and atmospheres are heard in each of the 10 tracks. Everything feels mellow, trippy, and peculiar to the senses. Much like MGMT’s previous efforts, the songs carry that sense of nostalgia, but not in an overbearing way. Interestingly enough, MGMT was aiming for a gothic vibe in this album. Frontman Andrew VanWyngarden commented in an interview with Noisey, “…people thought we were actually a goth band now. We’ve always been into exaggerated '80s goth.” VanWyngarden continued to say, “I think a lot of people look down on that now in new music—everything is supposed to be authentic, straight from the hip. I’m not hiding behind anything, you know?”

Dark atmospheres, ironically comedic lyrics, and subtleties are all experienced throughout Dark Age. Everything feels intoxicatingly catastrophic in the tone of Little Dark Age. ‘She Works Out Too Much,’ instantly swerves listeners into a chaotically mysterious song filled with oblique references to a failed relationship. After the song finishes, one can expect an instant return to MGMT’s usual enigmatic style. The lead single ‘Little Dark Age’ establishes the base for the album. A gothic tone and beefy bass backdrop give the song a nice texture to invest in. The 80’s style beat gives ‘Little Dark Age’ personality to make the track standout.

There are an abundance of noteworthy tracks, but one most outlets and critics single out is ‘Me and Michael.’ Part of the reason the song is referenced is due to the straightforward nature of the lyrics. Seldom do we see a song get praised for being straightforward, but in MGMT’s case, this is rare. ‘Me and Michael’ was originally written as “Me and My Girl,” but MGMT wanted the song to be unique. The song references a bond between two friends that isn’t romantic in nature. The friendship is tense but also strong. ‘Me and Michael’ mostly discusses the celebration of a friendship during a dark time and focuses on their joy of being alive despite their surroundings.

The music is smooth, dark, and lively to listen to. ‘TSLAMP’ encompasses one of the traits I enjoy about the album. The music is sleek, immersive, and complements the theme of the song. Although criticizing the worlds addiction to technology, ‘TSLAMP’ serves as an underrated track of the album. ‘When You’re Small’ is another notable inclusion to Little Dark Age. The hypnotizing riff, broken atmosphere, and cryptic tone is intriguing. ‘Hand it Over’ completes the cycle with another delirious 80’s inspired tune. The slow pace and soft resonance resolves Dark Age in one swift motion.

Little Dark Age was a paradox of music, mood, and mellow vibes. MGMT exhibited a sign of life as they were fading into oblivion. The intrigue of the group returned for the album. Dark Age provided more than fans asked for and is certain to appease even the most cynical of fans. My interest in the group declined through their previous releases, but Little Dark Age caught me off guard. I wasn’t believing the hype or establishing expectations, but after listening to the album a few times, I was starting to remember my initial awe when I first heard Oracular Spectacular.

Of course, there is no comparison between the two. Any critic who attempts so is wasting their time, but the value Little Dark Age holds in their discography is significant. Although not perfect, Dark Age is a leap in the right direction. All of the songs are invigorating in their own way. No track feels wasted or dull and are organized correctly. The length is perfect and the listing doesn’t feel crowded. Unlike MGMT, the album doesn’t lose focus and stays head-on until the end. Harkening back to the Noisey review, both band members commented how they appreciate being labeled as rock and believe it isn’t dead. If that’s the case, here’s to hoping they keep it alive.

Standout Tracks
Little Dark Age
When You Die
When You’re Small
Hand it Over

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 1st 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

I'm really enjoying this album.

March 1st 2018


great review

March 1st 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know if they're still considered indie or not, but whatever the case, I actually considered them to be my personal favorite from that movement. I'm glad they give me a reason to admit that now.

March 1st 2018


Album Rating: 2.0

Why does this have so many reviews, wattafuckinechochamberthisisactuallykindaaverageasallllllfuckkkkkkkk

March 2nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think it's an average album. Was it the best album of the year? Probably not, but it deserves credit for what it got right. It's obviously not your taste, Doofus, but I felt the album did exceptional in terms of creativity and quality. It doesn't sound like another The Neighbourhood rip-off or another cookie cutter indie band trying to stay low-key famous.

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