Who’s Got Beef With Congratulations!?


Earlier in the year MGMT released their highly anticipated 2nd LP entitled Congratulations.  Long story short, the thing flops like a fish.  It was a critical and commercial train wreck.  Apparently the organ heavy, 70’s psychedelia-prog sound didn’t sit well among fans of MGMT’s debut, Oracular Spectacular.  The differences between the two discs are obvious and well noted in a negative way by seemingly anyone who brings it up.  I, for the life of me, can not figure out why.

Characteristically, I usually seem to like albums that most people dislike.  It’s apparently part of my personality. All that aside, I still think that this album has been shit upon unfairly.  If every DJ on the radio’s commentary or every blog I’ve ever read about it weren’t seething and unyieldingly negative I wouldn’t feel the need to defend it so much.  I’m here to say that Congratulations is highly enjoyable and a credit to MGMT’s catalogue.  To me it brings to mind Gabriel era genesis at times and mid career Kinks at others.  That makes me smile having been a fan of both.  Maybe you need to be a fan of that era of music to enjoy it.  I still just don’t see how anyone could dislike this album as much as everybody seems to.

Is it just a domino effect?  Did the all mighty Pitchfork Media decide to destroy Congratulations, therefore making everyone else jump on the ban wagon?  Not really.  Pitchfork gave it a favorable review, in pitchfork terms anyhow.  They gave it a respectable(again, respectable by Pitchfork terms) 6.8 out of 10.  So why then do I still to this day seven or eight months from its release, keep hearing terrible comments about it?  I guess the world may never know.  Either way MGMT, I’ve got your back.  I’m even looking forward to your next piece of work, no matter how ill received it may be.

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4 Responses to Who’s Got Beef With Congratulations!?

  1. Phil C says:

    I’m not an ablum guy, as you know, but if the track “Flash Delirium” is an indication of what “Congratualtions” offers, then I agree with your sentiments. The song has so many different levels, and I find it apeasing even though I’m not married to MGMT’s music style.

    I see a lot of Beck in their style, do you concur Dr. Bowen?

    • ztb101 says:

      I agree to a point. The thing about Beck is that he reinvents himself almost every album, his horizons are almost at a complete 360 degrees. It’s kind of like playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon, it’s way too easy cause the dude’s been in a billion movies. That being said, I definitely hear why one would hear Beck in MGMT’s music, especially on Oracular Spectacular. Good ear brutha.

  2. Jeff says:

    I never heard a full playthrough of their first album, but so far “Congratulations” hasn’t really taken hold with me yet. The first few tracks feel a bit too light and surf-rock (and boy, that gaudy album cover certainly doesn’t help with the association). With that said, I have a feeling time will be a lot kinder to this album. The explosion of synth-based, vaguely 80’s sounding beats that have flooded the indie rock scene won’t last forever, and as the band who most successfully capitalized on this trend, its important to establish that they aren’t married to one genre or sound. Of course, this is kind of the ideal thing to do with sophmore albums: exceed/defy expectations.

    • ztb101 says:

      Yeah, I agree about the album cover. Juuuuust a bit ridiculous. I really kind of like the surfer sound in general though. I’ve been listening to Pet Sounds a lot lately. For its time it is top of the line material. Definitely the best that surfer sound has to offer. I just don’t see why every single person who talks about it drags it through the mud. Aside from that aforementioned Pitchfork article, which was still negative mind you, i have not heard one count em one favorable review. Annoying.

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