MGMT – Oracular Spectacular: #530 of best 1,000 albums ever!

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

So why is MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

There’s a striking optimism to the sound of Oracular Spectacular, along with a glossy sheen and gorgeous and meticulous production aesthetic. Which, looking back, there’s not much about 2007 that should have been cause for “striking optimism” all told in the U.S. It was the end of the George W. Bush administration, the Iraq War was still going on, and a massive housing market crisis was the horizon.

But pop culture doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the exact mood of the time or era, does it? It can perhaps point to what’s ahead or reflect some opposing mood or emotion that provides escape or solace.  

Anyway, MGMT’s use of synths, drum machines, and other electronic elements blended with rock instrumentation give the band, and Oracular Spectacular, a unique sound that somehow sounds specific to the mid-2000s (in a good way) at the same time.

“Time to Pretend,” the best song on Oracular Spectacular,” is about the ups and downs of fame, or it’s about nihilism perhaps, depending on how you interpret it. In any event, the catchy melody, opening synthesizer riff, driving beat, and soaring vocals keep the energy high throughout.

“Kids” sports perhaps an even more recognizable synthesizer riff – an MGMT specialty. It too is catchy, with a moody Depeche Mode-esque synth beat underlying its effervescent vocals.

“Weekend Wars” shows off MGMT’s legitimate pop chops. It’s a downright pretty little with a harpsichord-esque feel and a British Invasion-flavored influence.

Some stats & info about MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? New York Bands, Rock Music, Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Dance Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Oracular Spectacular released? 2007
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #530 out of 1,000

MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

This is our decision to live fast and die young. We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun. Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do? Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?

What’s the most interesting thing about MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular that most people don’t know?

“Time to Pretend,” was originally recorded as a joke. According to MGMT’s lead singer, Andrew VanWyngarden, he and bandmate Ben Goldwasser wrote the song in college as a satirical take on the rockstar lifestyle. They never intended it to be taken seriously, and recorded it in a deliberately sloppy manner, with VanWyngarden even intentionally singing out of tune.

However, after the song gained popularity on the Internet, MGMT was signed to a record label and the song was re-recorded for Oracular Spectacular.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.