MGMT‘s Little Dark Age is a back to basics album that softly tackles a litany of issues (both personal and social) without overstating the obvious. The writing is relatively mild, but by MGMT’s standards it’s daring enough to add a notable edge. At times it can be dark and critical, broaching uncomfortable topics like suicide and depression. But other times it’s completely off the cuff, goofy and completely non-committal.

The beats are the bread and butter, and combined with the eccentric lyrics make for an unorthodox but altogether groovy listen. The back beat keeps the mood light, even when they’re tackling some of the more complicated narratives in the album, which in the end makes their message easy to digest. They’re not necessarily launching a crusade, but rather offering their two cents while still staying true to their bombastic style.

She Works Out Too Much

Jaded and left out to dry, a relationship that once started out so promising has quickly declined into complete and utter chaos. It’s a soggy mess and he’s feeling depleted. And now that it’s over all he can think about is her annoying habits, the most detesting being her incessant desire to work out and advise others about their health. He’s done with her and ready to dance the night away: [LISTEN]

Little Dark Age

A solar eclipse ushers in a mini dark age and the people are going mad. The momentary absence of light has him feeling without, and with no other options he starts boarding up the house in preparation of the Apocalypse. He can hear the living dead slowly making their way up the hilltop, and the sound is leaving him vengeful. He’s ready, ax in hand, grooving to the thought of a brighter day: [LISTEN]

When You Die

No more Mr. Nice Guy. He’s fed up with everyone’s perception that he’s a dandy and he’s ready to push back. It’s far more comical than it is threatening but at least he’s got enough guts to voice up. What’s more boss is that he has the courage to do it on his own terms, everyone else be damned. The beat is jolly, frolicking with nimble fortitude; the proper stage for the confrontation to go down: [LISTEN]

Me and Michael

Your atypical posse cut. The groove is moving steady and Michael is along for the ride, sitting shotgun and ready for whatever comes along. Nothing in particular happens, which speaks to Michael’s easygoing personality. Life is mild and with no pressure both are free to enjoy the rest of the day without having to worry about doing something exciting. Two buds just going with the flow: [LISTEN]

TSLAMP

Cell phones are pissing him off and he wants everyone to stop with it already. Everywhere he goes people are staring into their screens, pretending that they’re looking at something important. The sight is making him sick to his stomach and he’s about to go crazy. The lights are so bright that it’s leaving him with a tan, and looking like a carrot in February is not on his agenda: [LISTEN]

James

A light, airy synth announces a spirited ode to James, the resident dude of the group. He’s a good guy and they’re letting him know that anytime he needs something he can just come on over. As a testament to the trust that’s been built, they’re also informing him that he doesn’t even need to knock. There is a lot of friendship in the air, and they’re hoping this thank you will keep it that way: [LISTEN]

Days That Got Away

A whirlwind of synth clears a path for some heavy contemplation. He’s wondering about the days of old, and how quickly time has passed. The thought is weighing heavily on his mind and in the process making him sentimental, so much so that he can’t find the words to describe his mood. The synth rolls along, building to a slow crescendo; seething with intensity, but never losing its groove: [LISTEN]

One Thing Left to Try

The light is dwindling and there’s little hope left. The only thing left to do is clasp their hands and pray to the almighty for salvation. The beat is lighthearted and chipper, but the lyrics hint at a darker message; one that suggests that something is awry. Death is close by and with depression becoming more prevalent in their circle they’re trying to prevent a possible suicide attempt: [LISTEN]

When You’re Small

With so much attention given to celebrities and bigwigs it’s easy to forget about the little folks, the anonymous nobodies that keep a community together. The electronic elements take a backseat to some mild acoustics, which reflect the deep thoughts running through his mind. Strange days are upon us, and they’re struggling to make sense out of the madness. An anthem for the average Joe/Jane: [LISTEN]

Hand it Over

Easygoing lyrics and silky melodies close out the album in typical MGMT fashion. They’re lamenting over the state of the world and wondering when the tide will turn. It’s time for change and they’re not willing to wait any longer. The beat is mellow and provides a distinct contrast that helps the message settle in without too much of a fuss. A simple idea with a ton of heart: [LISTEN]