Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2008 : 05 "Time to Pretend" by MGMT

Let's make some music
Make some money
Find some models for wives

Earlier this fall, I sent the following to Twitter:

OK, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the song isn't really about marrying models--the title alone gives that away. But it should still be possible to write a song about pretending to be a huge success that would be a sort of free-wheeling celebration of lavish fantasy, and that isn't really what this song does either. In fact, on one level the song actually functions as a critique of the imagination, presenting it ultimately as a withdraw from the pleasures, sensations and interpersonal connections provided by existence:

I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I'll miss my sister and my father, miss my dog and my home
I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone

And yet the song's crowning touch is its assertion that, even despite these many sacrifices, total withdraw into insular fantasy ultimately remains preferable to bearing the disappointments of reality:

Yeah its overwhelming
But what else can we do
Get jobs in offices
and wake up for the morning commute?

The song takes a familiar rock-star fantasy, and by looking at it from a slightly different angle, reveals the suicidal ideation at its heart. This is genius at its bleakest, a glossy, upbeat anthem that seems intended for blasting on infinite repeat as you prepare your overdose.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: MGMT >> "Time To Pretend"

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