You never know what you’re going to get with this band. Both Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have made remarks across almost every interview of how too many people expect continuous magnificent electro-pop hits like “Electric Feel” and “Kids”. Fighting against this expectation with a five-year stretch of time and space in between their last self-titled album in 2013, the whimsical eclectic duo is indeed back with existentialism in their recently released album. Dark, indie, alternative, and experimental are some labels that can be thrown at these two, but smooth synth-pop and concise melodies seem to be the mold of this album. It is no doubt that they can still produce melodies that hit home and hooks that keep us grooving through their ambient background noise.
In an interview with FRANCE 24 on YouTube, after their release of this album, the duo is asked about the marvels and pitfalls of the modern age, and technology immediately becomes the focus of concern. In Ben Goldwasser’s response, he admits that “technology is moving faster than we can keep up with it. It might not be a bad thing, but it’s crazy to see how accepting people are of new technology without really knowing what the long-term effects are”. Even MGMT agrees that we are turning into zombies. When listening to “TSLAMP” (Time Spent Looking at My Phone), there is a comical, yet drastically sad tone to this reality that so many of us are victim to. This tone is revealed when VanWyngarden says “I’m wondering where the hours went, as I’m losing consciousness” and “When all I want and all I know Is time spent looking at my phone”. MGMT’s luddite resistance becomes clear when we hear these lyrics, so does that make them our guiding light through the apocalypse? In the same interview, the duo is asked what exactly is meant by the title of Little Dark Age and VanWyngarden responds “It culminated in early 2017 with a complete disorientation and identity loss of what it means to be American for many people”. This goes to prove that MGMT do not just pull from their own expansive psychedelic world all the time, but also incorporate the darkest parts of today’s reality into a concrete reflective album. Although, there is always hope, realizing that this is just a little dark age.