Congratulations

  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Apr 13, 2010
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. They never fully reconcile this conundrum, but have nonetheless created a fine record, which, while distantly removed stylistically from their first, doesn't lose grasp of their innate pop instincts, channeling them in a more elliptical, silvery manner.
  2. Congratulations is no more impenetrable than the Flaming Lips at their most commericial, with Sonic Boom offering a bright, upfront mix that keeps the baffling array of omichords, guitars, sitars, synths, organs and FX percolating in dynamic, uncluttered fashion.
  3. MGMT seem determined to break the mold they made for themselves, and while they deserve credit for trying, the outcome just isn't as much fun as the MGMT whose tunes could punch up movie trailers.
  4. Every track here has successful passages, but frustratingly, they too often turn out to be detours or trap doors. In general, the less cluttered and more focused their tracks are, the better they turn out.
  5. Cowbells and organ chords set the frenetic pace for this crazed and eerie take on surf music that namechecks the godfather of ambient in its punkest track.
  6. While MGMT may no longer peddle the kind of instant-pleasure-point melodic textures that propelled the band's most well-known songs into so many playlists, they're up to something far more interesting: releasing a major, mainstream objet d'art without for a minute fooling themselves that it "matters."
  7. They accomplished their mission. They made a record that doesn't have one radio hit, let alone a single and yet is stronger than their previous efforts.
  8. Despite its retro influences, MGMT isn't out of touch: "Lady Dada's Nightmare" is an eerie, instrumental nod to a certain pop star. So to answer Vanwyngarden's question: Yes, it's working.
  9. From the opening moments of the sublime "It's Working" all the way to the titular closer, Congratulations is an incredible follow-up from a band that is still maturing into some unknown entity.
  10. 80
    This is a wilful and lovably eccentric second album from a band who've had a sniff of being pop stars and decided they'd much rather be weird and esoteric, thanks all the same.
  11. 80
    Despite being haunted by the group's flip from rock-star charade to reality, Congratulations still brims with mischievous energy.
  12. All in all, Congratulations pushes MGMT in the right direction. Rather than resting on their deserved laurels, Vanwyngarden and Goldwasser challenge themselves sonically, creating a follow-up that will test even the most astute audience.
  13. 70
    The whole album is a spacey trip, and it acquires several listenings to be on their side. They're definitely not stagnant, but it's still a step back from their debut--not in time, but in appeal.
  14. Undoubtedly, some fans will be left feeling deflated, but this odd little sonic onion ultimately rewards those patient enough to peel the layers.
  15. Congratulations, MGMT's time-warped sophomore release, is a strange beast, a candy-colored acid trip set to music, and easily the most hallucinatory rock record of the year so far.
  16. MGMT's first long-player may have included catchier singles, but Congratulations is the better album, trading Oracular's deceptive superficiality for psychedelic grandeur. Of course, like all psychedelic things, that grandeur is pretty deceptive, too.
  17. Though understated compared to their predecessors, these songs are smart and catchy.
  18. The nine-song album aims for a more unified and introspective feel, a good deal darker, denser and less instantly accessible than the debut. Instead of concise singles, it more fully embraces the duo's interests in waving the Barrett-era freak flag
  19. The album's peppier tracks are front-loaded early, and even if the duo are capable '70s sylvan prog revivalists, the back end of Congratulations feels directionless.
  20. Listening to the new MGMT album requires similar preparations to those for a prolonged psychedelic experience: you may want to leave some time in your daybook for unexpected detours, and it'd be wise to erase previous experiences from your mind for fear that heightened expectations may not be met and mass bummerage will ensue.
  21. It offers one sonic reward after another, and the band remains as inviting as ever. It's the nature of the party that's changed.
  22. Mojo
    100
    Brooklyn duo deliver shock psychedelic masterpiece. [May 2010, p. 96]
  23. Q Magazine
    80
    The album evokes not claustrophobia but space and freedom: an exhilarating screw-the-consequences leap into the bizarre. [May 2010, p.110]
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 193 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 45
  2. Negative: 3 out of 45
  1. DavidM.
    Apr 14, 2010
    10
    What a grower of an album. Soon it will be drilling itself into your subconscious.
  2. FredericL.
    Apr 19, 2010
    9
    An excellent second album that will make the indie-hipsters freak out...Nevermind the poseurs! Definitely on the same level as great psyche An excellent second album that will make the indie-hipsters freak out...Nevermind the poseurs! Definitely on the same level as great psyche albums such as "Da Capo" or "Odessey & Oracles". Can´t wait for album 3 and let´s hope we have a second Metanoia-style EP in the middle. Full Review »
  3. DocGonzo
    Apr 13, 2010
    9
    Surprised at the tepid critical response thus far. To my ears, this is an incredibly cohesive psychedelic album absolutely brimming with Surprised at the tepid critical response thus far. To my ears, this is an incredibly cohesive psychedelic album absolutely brimming with excellent musical ideas. It's a great new direction for a talented young band. Full Review »