We all know MGMT have a fame-and-fortune complex: When F&F beckoned, they responded with the snidely-titled Congratulations, which our then-critic called an “odd little sonic onion … [that] studiously avoided any obvious pop hook.”
Their third album, which comes out September 17, is self-titled, so it could be about anything. “Alien Days,” a space-out from the album that was released as a Record Store Day cassingle (LOL), suggested we were in for more of the same. But their bracing new single, “Your Life Is a Lie,” hints at an MGMT under new management.
Two minutes long and rather rude, “Your Life Is a Lie” is more or less the sound of a band pulling its head out of its ass. It’s got a gnarly, looping garage-rock drive, and more niceties than you’d expect from such a quickie: cowbell, an almost comically buzzy high-end, some kind of something solo that you could (yes) call spacey, and a magnificent hook.
“You life is a lie” is, of course, that hook, and the one thing you’re unlikely to do is take it literally. This band might have “congratulated” themselves with a hard-to-love second album, but they won’t earnestly suggest we strip away the accumulated bullcrap of our self-images. They live for that bullcrap. This song just loads it up and trundles it away to la-la land. And the video’s a real work of art—a bunch of presumably found-footage (or “found-footage”) without one important signifier in sight:
My favorite part might be when the lyrics mention “fire and ice,” and we see an ice cube on fire.
This is a turbulent song at peace with itself. We should all be so lucky. MGMT included.