Category Archives: mgmt

top ten albums of 2010

by Gordon

 

10. CONGRATULATIONS by mgmt

 

Flash Delirium [LISTEN]

While not as altogether catchy as their breakthrough Oracular Spectacular, it’s every bit as weird, and ultimately, as daring. Though a letdown on certain levels, you have to give it to the band for their genre-bending approach.

FULL REVIEW

 

9. INFINITE ARMS by band of horses

On My Way Back Home [LISTEN]

It doesn’t knock you out on first listen. Infinite Arms grows on you, reminding you of what makes Band of Horses a great band, be it the soaring vocals of Ben Bridwell, their undeniable melodies, or, less tangibly, the subtle way the music takes you to a quiet place just between childhood and last night.

FULL REVIEW

 

8. ODD BLOOD by yeasayer

O.N.E. [LISTEN]

Part Animal Collective, part Of Montreal, brand new and yet somehow reminiscent of an era that’s passed, it’s all come to be what is unmistakably Yeasayer, and I welcomed a heavy dose this year.

FULL REVIEW

 

7. THIS IS HAPPENING by lcd soundsystem

I Can Change [LISTEN]

This universally acclaimed third and purportedly final album from Murphy serves as an upbeat celebration of the end of a decade, while still encapsulating the sometimes introverted thoughtfulness that’s stood out in the artist’s previous work as well. Let’s hope he has more to say in the years to come.

FULL REVIEW

 

6. CONTRA by vampire weekend

Giving Up The Gun [LISTEN]

Proving that the earlier success of these four young New York City lads was no fluke, Contra serves up another dose of of African pop-meets-Western culture, but this time with even more boldness and purpose in direction.

FULL REVIEW

 

5. THE AGE OF ADZ by sufjan stevens

I Walked [LISTEN]

Do I wish Stevens, who for almost a decade has remained one of the most inspiring and sometimes life-changing artists for my generation, had combined the best of Adz and his recent EP All Delighted People to create an even better new release? Yes. But Adz is still undeniably an amazing record, grander in scale, scope and sound than anything yet from the quiet young Michigan native with a banjo.

4. GO by jónsi

Boy Lilikoi [LISTEN]

It’s Sigur Rós on Four Loko. With tighter compositions, fuller soundscapes, and just as much imagination as ever, you  need only close your eyes and imagine the other members to ease out of the feeling you’re committing adultery.

FULL REVIEW

 

3. TEEN DREAM by beach house

Walk In The Park [LISTEN]

It’s hard to believe how simple a song can be, or a band for that matter, and still make music magic. Amidst a broad pallette of pace and emotion, Legrand’s vocals leave the strongest aftertaste…soulful, confident, and even in a pop context, always a bit haunting.

FULL REVIEW

 

2. HIGH VIOLET by the national

Afraid Of Everyone [LISTEN]

It’s hard not giving this one the top spot. This is the third consecutive album from the band to be music gold, their instrumental style and lyrical intricasies too complex to merely describe on pen and paper. Singer Matt Berninger and the rest of The National continue to fill a void in contemporary music and culture, one that most of us, sadly, wouldn’t have even known even existed.

FULL REVIEW

 

1. THE SUBURBS by arcade fire

We Used To Wait [LISTEN]

I’m not surpised Arcade Fire would put out the best album of any year. I’m just surprised there’s a band as consistently good as Arcade Fire. Not every song may do it for you. When do they all? But the album’s strength is in its cohesive theme of the modern day, good and bad. And for modern music, it’s simply great.

FULL REVIEW
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under arcade fire, band of horses, beach house, jónsi, lcd soundsystem, mgmt, sufjan stevens, the national, vampire weekend, yeasayer

CONGRATULATIONS by mgmt

by Gordon

 

Pitchfork: 6.8           Rolling Stone: 3/5           Metacritic: 70           Spin: 4/5

 

Released: April 2010
Tracklisting:
  1. It’s Working [LISTEN]

  2. Song for Dan Treacy
  3. Someone’s Missing
  4. Flash Delirium
  5. I Found A Whistle
  6. Siberian Breaks
  7. Brian Eno
  8. Lady Dada’s Nightmare
  9. Congratulations

   I, like nearly every other MGMT listener, was first drawn to the band for two simple reasons: “Kids” and “Time To Pretend” (for some it might have been only one of the two reasons and for others a third: “Electric Feel”). And I’m fairly certain that at least half of all MGMT listeners have only ever listened to some combination of those songs, whether through parties, radio, mix CDs, or YouTube.

   When I bought Oracular Spectacular in search of more of these hits, I wasn’t too surprised to discover that it contained no more. Instead, it consisted of zany, genre-bending psychadelia that ranged in intensity from hushed to anthemic. None wooed me with first, second or even third listens. But as I soldiered on in growing acceptance and hopeful pursuit, I became very fond of the sound…not nearly as catchy as those mentioned earlier, but bold and refreshing enough.

   And when their second release, Congratulations, hit stores, I, like nearly every other MGMT listener, was anxiously hoping for another “Kids”, another “Time To Pretend”, just one more party-pleaser. Turns out the band actually tried quite hard to avoid this, not altogether happy with the fame and attention that resulted from the success of their earlier hits. And it kind of pisses me off. I’m not one hundred percent convinced they could write another “Kids” if they tried, and this would have been a great time to try (and make their listeners happy as a result).

   What’s left, then, is an album that sounds 100 percent much what 70 percent of Oracular sounded. Opener “It’s Working” (video here), apparently about the ecstasy they regret not doing earlier in their success, is your standard, chorus-y psych-rock, a little retro in its 60s surf-style bassline. The potential to Track 3, “Someone’s Missing”, is unfortunately revealed only in the song’s last 30 seconds, it taking two droning minutes for singer Andrew VanWyngarden to go into his quiet, high-pitched, almost teasing vocals to get us there.

   “Flash Delirium” is an album standout, Pitchfork Media saying it “features flutes, horns, and about seven different sections that reference doo-wop, old school rock’n’roll, electro balladry, Ariel Pink-style lo-fi, wall-of-Spector pop, and The Beatles at their most high.” While the praise seems a little high to me, when I think about it, I kind of agree. Its final, chorus-y minute and a half make for what I hear as the happiest and catchiest album moment. The video below proves that the band may just have the weirdest videos out there today…I don’t always get it but I dig it. “Siberian Breaks”, at just over 12 minutes, and though musically striking for less than half of those, still pulls off some great moments in its ever-changing audio focus, and should be praised for its ambition any way you look at it.

   And closer / title track “Congratulations” which begins like a modern-day version of The Band’s “The Weight”, while sticking mostly to a slow acoustic ballad with VanWyngarden’s vocals lulling on top, serves as one of the few enjoyably relaxing MGMT listens. Though the band may be a bit cocky in its closing sentiments (“Spread my arms and soak up ‘Congratulations’”), I don’t feel that they don’t deserve at least a healthy dose. And I have a feeling that, while it might take a year or more before I’ve truly soaked up the album, it will be at that point that I may very well have much higher praise for it. But damn if they couldn’t have just included one more radio-friendly pop tune.

2 Comments

Filed under mgmt