User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 84 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 84
  2. Negative: 19 out of 84

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  1. Aug 27, 2014
  2. Jun 15, 2014
    A very good album that's tragically underrated. "I Love You Too, Death" is probably my favorite track, it's gorgeous. If you don't like this album, give it a few more listens. It'll grow on you.
  3. Apr 13, 2014
    I found it quite funny that critics were so split between those who absolutely hated this album and those who absolutely loved it. And I get it at some point: you love it or hate it, no middle point can be accepted. It's strange, as its very core definition, strange, weird, unusual and every other adjective you'd wish to put, but that weirdness works so well when the album begins to play and goes on and on. In my opinion, I choose to go with the second group and love the piece. Because these guys decided to explore other sounds and give a damn about what critics could say: they've taken a risk, and I truly respect that. Best album of the band so far for me. Expand
  4. Apr 7, 2014
    At first I was not thrilled with the second half of this album. The songs seem to run together and it seems as if the lyrics are being mumbled underneath the music. I do, however, really like how MGMT's songs do not stick to a conventional song format. The lack of an annoyingly catchy chorus allows me to listen to it several times without getting tired of it and each time I listen I heard something new. The more I listened to this album the more I liked it-especially the last song-An Orphan of Fortune. This is not my favorite piece of work from MGMT but I respect that they made a piece of art rather than selling out and just making something catchy as the critics seemed to want. I look forward to see what else they will come up with in the future. Expand
  5. Feb 20, 2014
    This is no "Oracular Spectacular," but it's almost as good. Oracular Spectacular was fast, Congratulations slowed down the pace a little bit, but this album mixes the two perfectly. It has some unnoticeable tracks, but not that many. The songs are beautiful that tie the album into one. The songs trigger a certain relaxed or psychedelic feeling while listening to them with subtle tunes and lyrics. MGMT has done well with this album, but will hopefully create another "Oracular Spectacular" with their next fantastic album. Expand
  6. Dec 31, 2013
    I can't help but love a band/artist that's not afraid of making huge changes to their sound, with no fear of alienating their fanbase whatsoever. This is actually the first full-length album I've heard from MGMT, which I like, since it means I have no real set bias as to which album of theirs I prefer outside my own general tastes. That being said, I have a feeling that if this were some alternate reality where the releases of MGMT & Congratulations were switched, the fan reaction would've been just as polarizing, if not more so. Even at this album's most accessible points, it's still nowhere near as radio-friendly as those big hits. But if you're open-minded enough to try something a little more out there, it can be a rewarding listen.

    Songs like “Alien Days” & “Mystery Disease” remind me a lot of the trippy, off-kilter, slightly hazy & kinda catchy mid-tempo psych-pop you'd find on some of The Flaming Lips' most acclaimed albums, which makes sense considering the producer. Of course like I've been saying, the album can at times get a lot weirder, creating odd soundscapes & sometimes escaping song structure altogether. The biggest highlight for me though is “Your Life Is a Lie”, easily the most straightforward song on this album. It's 2 minutes of abrasive, repetitive & fuzzed out dry humor that spends its whole running time beating the same vocal phrase into your head over & over. And yet as bad as this might sound at first, I just find it so fun in its absurdity. Whether the lyrics are merely a silly romp or an ironic commentary on the overly snarky, pseudo-nihilistic pessimist culture that's become associated with indie music listeners (which I've taken from it) is up to interpretation, but either way I'm addicted to it. Speaking of, I will admit that a good majority of the time on this album I have no idea what the lyrics are talking about. But it never feels lazy or half-hearted so it's probably just me not being able to “get it”.

    Ironically enough, the album's bolder & more experimental moments are also responsible for some of my least favorite tracks here, most of the back half in particular. I just feel like on a few songs, the band is more focused on being weird that making any cohesive or memorable. Sure there are some good ideas in there through atmosphere & instrumentation, but a lot of the time they just clutter up the mix & don't do much to give the actual song much replay value for me. Another song worth mentioning is the also very experimental “I Love You Too, Death”, which basically works for the same reasons as the best songs from The Terror. Sure it's atmospheric, long-winded & kinda minimalist, but it at least has a memorable melody & a great gradual build that keeps it pleasantly engaging for its entire length. Despite any problem I might have though, I can't deny that I have immense respect for a band this blatantly uncompromising. I really wish nothing but the best for them in terms of where their sound goes next, since they're the kind of band I want in my top 10 in a future year-end albums list.

    Top 5 tracks: Your Life Is a Lie, Mystery Disease, I Love You Too Death, Plenty of Girls in the Sea, Alien Days
    Score: 72/100
    (Check out a longer review & other album reviews at my Facebook page That Non-Elitist Music Fan.)
  7. Nov 25, 2013
    It is a pale copy of what true psychedelic music can be, but they do their own stuff and it is fabulous. I am not all crazy over their album, but the deluxe edition is definitely worth it. It comes with the Optimizer which s a movie for the whole album and it is very very very trippy.

    The album is not a complete experience without the Optimizer!!!
  8. Nov 3, 2013
    I don't know what 'self indulgent' means when it comes to making albums but I do know what 'experimental' means and it seems like MGMT were either 'experimenting' to find out if you can make songs without rhythm and lyrics and melodies, or trying to figure out if they could make total crap and still sell records to their fans. Well I bought it so the answer to the second experiment is yes but the answer to the first is no. If you don't want to make music anymore just break your contract and get sued like a man. Why insult all the hard working bands out there that are desperate for success and would love to have someone listen to their music by 'experimenting' with releasing an album of boring noise and saying that if people don't 'get it' then it's just not for everyone. No music is for everyone but that's no excuse for not even trying to make something listenable. I think success came too early and too easy for these two and they have no appreciation for it and just want to destroy it so they can start over and earn it. When they're long forgotten middle-aged flash-in-the-pan doofuses they'll regret not taking advantage of having the world on a string. They just let it all slip away. -an angry and disappointed fan. Expand
  9. Oct 28, 2013
    This is some I liked MGMT for their more melodic songs such as kids and electric feel. the weird on the first and second albums were slapped together noise. If they are trying to be groundbreaking and fresh or whatever then they are not doing it well. hopefully they will honor the fans that loved the songs mentioned and create something more accessible. the great thing about ocular spectacular was the diversity. there was some acoustic folky stuff, incredible electronic, some nice groove and then the weird noise stuff. if this is where they're going then i guess i'm only gonna be a fan of their first album and the track congratulations. i only gave this a 1 because there is no zero. this album is void of anything remotely good or listenable. it sucks. Expand
  10. Oct 23, 2013
    MGMT ("The Optimizer" Deluxe) is a great experience, don't get me wrong. There's a weird, surreal aspect of the music and it overflows with psychedelic flair, passionate instrumentation and fuzzy production. If anyone wants to know what psychedelic music is, show them this, it'd be perfect. The problem here is the nomadic state of the band. The album provides a great trip and experience however it isn't memorable or on point. Let's hope MGMT return to their roots and rise in the psychedelic genre, for now these are alien days and they're holding themselves back Expand
  11. Oct 21, 2013
    First half of the album is great. Alien Days is superb but the second half is a bit boring (except Plenty Of Girls... which is really catchy).
    Mindless, pandering reviewers will rate this 1 or 2 points without a second listen. This album can grow on you if you have an open mind.
  12. Oct 10, 2013
    Love MGMT, but not really feeling this one at all. Far too often, I'd doze over during a song or when I would listen, the singing was more like mumbling. This one is easily one of the bigger disappointments of the year and never seemed to really grab me and leave me wanting more. In addition, it seems to be all over the place. There's no direction and you can tell they just kind of just rushed through this. For a 40 minute long album, this one feels like double that time. Expand
  13. Oct 9, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I lost my original review so this one won't be nearly as descriptive.

    To put it simply, the album is confusing and a bit annoying. So many of the songs could have been so much better if not for the random beeps, synthesizers, and unnecessary repetitiveness (I Love You Too, Death and Plenty Of Girls In The Sea, for example). Some were just pointless, irritating, monotone, etc. (Astro-Mancy, Your Life Is A Lie). Some were really good, except for the noises (A Good Sadness). Not a terrible album, but not a great one either. About at the same level as Congratulations in my opinion.
  14. Oct 8, 2013
    This is simply terrible. There are plenty of great bands who combine adventurousness and risk-taking with solid songs. This sounds like throwing ideas against a wall and having no sense of songwriting, flow, melody, or musicianship. What did these songs sound like before they got produced?

    Absolutely a case of emperor's new clothes for anyone who thinks this is better than a 2.
  15. Oct 7, 2013
    Don't listen to the hipsters passing this off as some sort of art-masterpiece.
    It's not.
    If it's anything it's a middle finger to their record company.
  16. Oct 1, 2013
    I suspect this is a grower. That said, am I going to give it enough time to grow? Probably not. I won't force myself to "like" this, and at best will probably tolerate most of it when it comes on through a "random" on my iPod. I loved Oracular. Was impressed with Congratulations. And now I'm underwhelmed with MGMT. And by that I mean I don't even find this "weird" or "experimental." I just find it boring and murky, and a chore to listen to after a few "decent" songs which could have been B-sides at any point in their career. Generally, I don't get the "weird" thing or the "we want to make music we like" thing. Truth be told, the first album was "weird," and if you asked an oblivious listener to arrange the albums in the order they thought was chronological, this self-titled would be the most amateur and lowfi. My point is this duo is not progressing. They are regressing. Simply, a boring album. Expand
  17. Sep 30, 2013
    In our opinion the best song on their new album is Your Life Is A Lie. It’s a psychedelic teasing to all their fans. Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser did their best to sound different, more abstract, more psychedelic.
  18. Sep 27, 2013
    What a disappointment. I was a big fan of Oracular (almost all the songs and not just the hits) and was one of the few who thought Congratulations was a big step forward. This is just one slog of an album trying to capture Animal Collective style drone and ambient music. "Alien Days" is great and I also enjoy "Introspection", but that's pretty much it. I wanted to love this album, but 3 listens in, and it's still so damn bland. Expand
  19. Sep 26, 2013
    It's pretty fun, but it's certainly the worst of their three albums. Oracular Spectacular was loaded with great, catchy singles, whereas Congratulations saw them venture into uncharted territory and explore what their true, wacky potential was. This just feels a little bit too safe. It's worth the listen, especially if you're an MGMT fan, and ESPECIALLY if you're an MGMT fan that liked Congratulations more than Oracular Spectacular, but it will not return them to popularity amongst the public or indie spheres. Expand
  20. Sep 26, 2013
    To say that this album is the worst thing the band has ever done would be kind. It tries oh so desperately to pass itself off as something fresh, interesting, arty and unusual, but succeeds only in convincing us that the band have already peaked. Overrated nonsense.
  21. Sep 20, 2013
    MGMT’s self-titled third album delivers a brand-new sound that celebrates liberated consciousness as they ditch any remnants of stylistic pigeon holes or creative boundaries. The music awakens feelings of uncertainty but also of determination that many of us are feeling these days in this world. I recently read that in their years at Wesleyan University, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden soon focused on experimental music. It was not something that just happened to them overnight, waking up one morning and deciding to do it. They even played a few experimental operas of Anthony Braxton. Experimental music has been an important influence for Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden totally ignored by the press in the U.S. Expand
  22. Sep 19, 2013
    I'm not just giving this a ten because I love MGMT. I'm giving this a ten because it genuinely deserves it as a work of art. and thus, I love MGMT. To all of you people saying how it's too "self-indulgent," and that you "don't get it" blah blah blah.. you guys aren't qualified to judge this album as a work of art. you guys are merely looking for something catchy to satisfy your shallow minds and short attention spans. god, that's annoying. people these days expect artists to cater to them. aren't we supposed to adore artists for the art that they make based in their own personal tastes, whims, and preferences? otherwise, what is it? it's not genuine art, that's for sure. you see, this music is for those that can appreciate art. for those that can, it's invaluable stuff. Expand
  23. Sep 18, 2013
    I've been looking forward to this release after the brilliance that was Oracular Spectacular and Congratulations. The Alien Days single release had me absolutely pumped.

    I'm sad to say that this is not an album I was hoping to listen to. For starters, it's barely an album at all. Sonically, it's a mess. Random noises do not a psychedelic album make. The lyrics are indiscernible. The
    music is only rarely interesting, and the second half the album turns absolutely terrible, with nothing more than screeching lo-fi synths and occasional mutterings from VanWyngarden to even remind me I'm listening to an album and not a poor film score.

    I wish I could enjoy this I really do. But I can't. It's so self-indulgent, but lacks anything to actually make it a good work. This album when at its best, is a mess. When it drops below that, it's barely listenable. I honestly miss the MGMT that knew how to create experimental, interesting, and yet accessible music, because this isn't them.
  24. Sep 18, 2013
    Reviewers have lost their minds... it's as if music that innovates and moves forward through intelligent risk-taking gets shunned without hesitation. This is not a pop album. Those reviewers giving abysmally low scores must have some inner hatred for MGMT... the best advice that I can give them is to stick to scoring bands like Foster the People, as they are in the wrong realm for their tastes, and reviewing the experimental and eclectic flavors will not serve to benefit their careers.

    Sorry for the lack of a complete review... someone just had to express this angle on the snooty, hateful reviewers out there. Great album, just give it a little time to sink in.
  25. Sep 18, 2013
    I don't get it. I really don't. This is the most contrived yet self-indulgent record I've heard this year, both in the worst ways. The album has a few redeemable qualities in the form of a listenable song or two, but not much other than that. I didn't expect MGMT to sound the same as their previous two albums, but I expected better than this.

    I'm going to give it a bit more time and if
    I change my mind, I'll come back. But I don't expect that to happen. Expand
  26. Sep 18, 2013
    Honestly, the best MGMT album yet. It is evident that they wanted to experiment and experiment they did. It's upsetting that people still hold them up to Kids & Electric Feel. I had heard rumors that they were going to make this album more appealing to that crowd but I am so glad that it is exactly the opposite. Keep on making magical ear candy, MGMT!
  27. Sep 17, 2013
    Fantastic follow up to Congratulations. Definitely not the album I was expecting after hearing Alien Days. I feel like these guys are just getting started.
  28. Sep 17, 2013
    Grower of an album. I am sooooo happy they went with their art and not the desire of the masses that seem to want the same songs over and over. Don't these pollyanna fans ever get bored with the same sound? I commend MGMT for moving into a deeper and darker sound. They are one of the most adventurous rock/pop groups around and I love them for it!! Very few bands today have their vision. This album is for the music lovers that like challenging sounds and want to be taken on a journey. In the age of Itunes they are still trying to make a cohesive artistic statement. Bravo!!!! Collapse
  29. Sep 17, 2013
    Here's the thing I think we are going to have to expect: MGMT will never sound like they did on their first album. Whilst this new record is not as much of an overworked, contrived mess as 'Congratulations', it really fails to stand out ahead of the popular neo-psyche movement that is happening all over the place now. There are a few catchy moments (who would have thought the two chord wonder "Your Life Is A Lie" would stand out as a catchy track. They make soundscapes indistinguishable from Of Montreal. But still light years better than what Daft Punk attempted on RAM. Not awful. Not exceptional. It may be one of those albums that grows on you. It may just grow incredibly slowly. Expand
  30. Sep 17, 2013
    I feel like this album is self-titled because this is the music that best represents not only who MGMT are as people and musicians, but the kind of music that they truly WANT to make. music that not everyone will understand or like. The negative reviews and opinions that this album is generating is, in a sense, what they aim to do. They don't want to make music that is predictable. They got sick of poppy elements because poppy elements are predictable by nature. Their musical desire and drive lies more with wanting to test their audience. They enjoy taking the listener on a journey where the next destination is foreign and surprising, or thought-provoking. People who think that their music has been getting worse with each album are simply people who do not want to accept the invitation MGMT has extended to them to go on such a mystery tour. and thats perfectly fine. If it doesn't appeal to them, they are neither right nor wrong. They are only wrong in saying that MGMT's music has gotten progressively worse (personally, Congratulations is one of my favorite albums of all time). Their talent did not go away and leave them behind. Rather, it is going elsewhere and taking them along with it. For many fans, where the band's talent has ventured is somewhere they cannot relate to or don't care to acquaintance themselves with. This album in particular is especially hard to digest even in comparison with Congratulations, but if you accept the invitation and follow the band into whatever alien-ridden, endless void of colorful tragedy and self-examination they drag you through, the rewards to be reaped can be quite spectacular. Expand
  31. Sep 17, 2013
    Despite the fact that, again, it sounds nothing like their last album, this album is pretty damn good. However, this album may not appeal to you on your first listen. It's a very dark and difficult album. It's also trippy as When you compare Congratulations (a masterpiece, if you haven't got over the fact that it doesn't have another "Time To Pretend" or "Kids" on it) to MGMT, it seems like a commercial sellout. If you give it a chance without expecting it to be a mindless pop album, you might see the album as the genius acid trip that it is.
    My Favorites Songs: Alien Days, Cool Song No. 2, Introspection
  32. Sep 17, 2013
    I was blown away by 2010's Congratulations. It was an album packed full of catchy psych songs with thought provoking lyrics. Now fans have waited 3 years for the follow up. The album starts with one of the strongest songs of MGMT's career Alien Days. The song provides the same feelings of joy I received listening to Siberian Breaks (MGMT's 12 minute psych-masterpiece). The album continues walls of synth and delayed vocals with the occasional pop break (There's Plenty of Girls in the Sea, and Your Life is a Lie) The album overall is a big step in experimentation for MGMT. Where Congratulation had the straight forward Psychedelic pop of the 60's, MGMT trades the electric guitars in for acid soaked synths. The result is not disappointing and even a more intriguing listening experience. At this moment I've Listened to this albums 3 times. And Congratulations edges it by a bit but that may change with more listens. I'm glad to say MGMT did not disappoint.
    Top Songs: A Good Sadness, Cool Song No.2, Alien Days
    Least Favorites: Mystery DIsease
  33. Sep 17, 2013
    I'm not the biggest fan of MGMT's previous two records but this new weird stuff is really my cup of tea. It's experimental, complex and psychedelic. It reminds me of Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, Tame Impala or Animal Collective and The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (more than anything else). 8.5/10
  34. Sep 17, 2013
    It's an amazing work by MGMT... I wish i had something more to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. Jan 27, 2014
    These ever-changing moods don't make MGMT an easy listen. [Oct 2013, p.105]
  2. Nov 7, 2013
    MGMT's still reacting to the mainstream triumph of 2008's Oracular Spectacular, trying too hard to sound genuinely weird, as if determined to fail at any cost.
  3. Oct 18, 2013
    The cosmic expanses of "I Love You Too, Death" and "Astro-Mancy" are particularly engrossing, but this record boasts more than enough quality head trips to keep you in it pull 'til the next go-round. [No. 103, p.57]