Oracular Spectacular

  • Record Label: Sony
  • Release Date: Jan 22, 2008
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 196 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 196

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  1. DolanM.
    Mar 3, 2008
    8
    Re: Sharpa That's a stretch. The only similarities those songs show are the use of synth and the tone of voice, and if we're going to argue about tone of voice, then HSH stole it from Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, who got it from someone else, etc.
  2. DMcGinty
    Feb 25, 2008
    8
    The first five songs are amazing, the rest has its moments. Not many bands can have songs titled "The Youth" and "Kids" two tracks apart without getting cocky.
  3. BilliW.
    Feb 1, 2008
    10
    This is the Sargeant Pepper for the New Millennium. A work of youthful genius.
  4. JustinN
    Jan 31, 2008
    8
    The album is pretty freakin' good. I had a chance to hear MGMT live with Of Montreal in November as was surprised to hear an opening band almost surpass the main show.
  5. OliverC.
    Jan 31, 2008
    9
    This album is fantastic. Every song here is great. I don't know why the critics call it front-loaded, i think "4th Dimensional transition" is the best song on the album after Time to Pretend. It doesn't have any weak points in my opinion.
  6. StevenR.
    Jan 31, 2008
    9
    For opener "Time to Pretend" alone, this album deserves high marks, but best is that MGMT refuses to be categorized. Building upon the mostly-electric sound of their previous EP, MGMT ends up a little more rock. Very few low points.
  7. GuillaumePop
    Feb 2, 2008
    10
    This is my 2008 debut album, amazing from the start to the end!
  8. AlexR.
    Feb 21, 2008
    7
    Aside from the obvious standouts on the record (Time to Pretend, Electric Feel, Kids), the album is very mediocre. The albums letdowns however feature a lot of potential for the group. A good effort, but a miss for the most part.
  9. MarkL.
    Mar 12, 2008
    8
    It's a pretty good CD. With some upbeat songs as well as some mellow songs that still make you want to move.
  10. PeterS.
    Mar 15, 2008
    8
    Electric Feel is the best song Prince never wrote.
  11. [Anonymous]
    Mar 17, 2008
    9
    Great album, and great live band. Sharpa, I'm sorry buddy but Sleepy California sounds nothing like Time to Pretend. Did you actually listen to the album?
  12. KGFReeze
    Mar 17, 2008
    8
    Superb record from front to back. Prince and the Flaming Lips in a dirty drugged out orgy....obviously. Good stuff, can't go wrong with this one.
  13. ChrisM.
    Mar 19, 2008
    10
    Best pure pop album in a long long time. The difference between them and anyone they may sound like is that they have a lot more melody, raw talent, sly unsmug humor, all around smarts, and are just plain better.
  14. ErikB.
    Mar 20, 2008
    9
    One of the best album's I've heard this year.
  15. Steve
    Mar 28, 2008
    9
    Great. It is weird but in a good, different way. Best album I've bought in 2008.
  16. Alex
    Mar 29, 2008
    8
    My albums of the year are so far: The Mars Volta, MGMT, Tokyo Police Club, and The Raconteurs. This album keeps bringing me back time and time again - my version of it is low quality - which actually adds to the feel of it -- I suggest you rip it like this ha! It feels like they have taken you to a desert island with them -- brilliant stuff! Oh and Sharpa J. -- it doesn't sound My albums of the year are so far: The Mars Volta, MGMT, Tokyo Police Club, and The Raconteurs. This album keeps bringing me back time and time again - my version of it is low quality - which actually adds to the feel of it -- I suggest you rip it like this ha! It feels like they have taken you to a desert island with them -- brilliant stuff! Oh and Sharpa J. -- it doesn't sound anything alike "sleepy california" - although they seem to be a pretty good band so thanks! Expand
  17. JustinK.
    Mar 30, 2008
    9
    Oracular spectacular is one of the must have albums of 2008. With a unique sound best described as space-rock meets disco, MGMT masterfully craft every song on their debut album, with the strong point being the first three tracks. Its only downfall is that it sometimes lacks a persistent flow as an album. And to set the record straight, Time to pretend does not sound that much like Oracular spectacular is one of the must have albums of 2008. With a unique sound best described as space-rock meets disco, MGMT masterfully craft every song on their debut album, with the strong point being the first three tracks. Its only downfall is that it sometimes lacks a persistent flow as an album. And to set the record straight, Time to pretend does not sound that much like HSH's Sleepy California. It sounds as thought the song was a slight influence at best. Expand
  18. MarkD.
    Apr 2, 2008
    9
    Where the hell did these guys come from? Out of nowhere they produced easily one of my favorite albums of 2008. A strong effort start to finish.
  19. AlZ.
    Apr 4, 2008
    10
    More powerful than Destroyer. Tighter than the Flaming Lips. Less goofy than Junior Senior. Those comparisons are loose at best as this album brings a brand new sound.
  20. MGrizzle
    Apr 10, 2008
    9
    Hot fire, Unlike many other bands before them, they seem to have perfected the whole space pop rock deal. It takes a few listens to really get into the music. Song's like Kids, Time to pretend will grab you and get you hooked. What else would you expect from a Dave Fridmann production. There amazing, Lets not jump to conclusions just yet, lets see what else they pump out before we Hot fire, Unlike many other bands before them, they seem to have perfected the whole space pop rock deal. It takes a few listens to really get into the music. Song's like Kids, Time to pretend will grab you and get you hooked. What else would you expect from a Dave Fridmann production. There amazing, Lets not jump to conclusions just yet, lets see what else they pump out before we hail them as the next great thing... Expand
  21. JamesS.
    Apr 11, 2008
    9
    A cracking little album which really captures the zeitgeist...seems to be better with every listen!
  22. GigiM.
    Apr 24, 2008
    10
    This album keeps entertaining, wowing and surprising me. Unpredictable, odd, excellent. One of the year's best.
  23. Brittany
    Apr 25, 2008
    9
    i love this album my favorite of the year so far. weekend wars and the youth are great songs!
  24. TomA.
    May 27, 2008
    9
    A wonderfully uplifting and exciting debut from a band who seem to have appeared from nowhere on a glam-lined cloud. Although slighlty front loaded (enjoyed better on shuffle I would have to say), it is an amazing starting point, with only one or at a push two slow points. It will be very interesting to see where they go from here, and I cant wait to catch them live - what a show it must be!
  25. MycroftW.
    Jun 28, 2008
    7
    Great singles, rushed album. Obvious example of a major label trying to churn out the next big thing.
  26. CristobalG.
    Jul 5, 2008
    9
    On a very first listen, the album may not sound as promising as you could think, but after the second listen and so on, it becomes an incredibly fresh, addictive, fun, clever, shiny and original album. It's like the perfect balance between Indie and Mainstream.
  27. RobB.
    Jul 5, 2008
    9
    Electric Feel, Kids, Weekend Wars & Time To Pretend are SO good that they score 9 on their own. The rest are less good and that's why its short of the perfect 10.
  28. KyleA.
    Jul 17, 2008
    10
    While at first this is album is hard to get into (past Time To Pretend) you discover the brilliance of their lyrics and the eloquence of their beats. Look out for "Kids" as the most addicting song.
  29. VasileiosP.
    Oct 16, 2008
    9
    Best pop of the year so far. Scissor Lips!
  30. Will
    Oct 24, 2008
    8
    The first half of the album is superb but in the second half only The Handshake stands out. They've got good potential though.
  31. JJV.
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    I really don't understand how anyone cannot see the brilliance. The progressions are simply brilliant and are in epic in a way only David Bowie has previously done. Best Band of 2008.
  32. BuckN.
    Jan 29, 2009
    9
    This is one of the best albums i heard in in the past few years. It has good groves and amazing synth. IT has some off tracks but the music still is good.
  33. ZaneS
    Feb 19, 2009
    8
    I love it! I'm not an indie fan, but I really did like this album. "Time To Pretend," "Electric Feel," "Kids" and "Pieces of What" are my favorites. "The Youth" is also good. It's hard to assign a single genre to the duo, but indie, rock and electric should sum it up nicely.
  34. IrinaP
    Mar 2, 2009
    8
    The album is amazing, but I must say that there is too much electric feel, that I actually do not like
  35. ClifC
    Mar 14, 2009
    8
    Every song is great or amazing or very good, etc. Buuut... listening to the whole album is a bit hard sometimes. That's why I can't give this album more than 8. Standout tracks: "Time to Pretend", "Weekend Wars", "Kids" and "The Handshake".
  36. jasonq
    Apr 6, 2009
    10
    best album ive heard in a while. although people may say its front-loaded, there are plenty of beautiful tracks if u just really listen to them all with an open mind.
  37. tim
    May 11, 2009
    10
    Best cd of the year blend of all the great sounds of rock.
  38. KyleT
    Jul 31, 2009
    9
    i would give this a 10 but it doesn't have the videos in it. This band is so funky and visionary it is so funny. They make me laughwhile listening to the songs. KIDS Time to Pretend Electric Feel are great and so is everything else. Just watch the video for KIDs you will be mesmerized.
  39. MichaelH
    Aug 19, 2009
    10
    Aside from Andrew VanWyngarden's beautiful and unique voice, the music of MGMT is unlike anything before it. So much melody and power pop sounds combined to make an amazing piece of art and music that is Oracular Spectacular. The album continues to thrive which each new song and there isn't one track that leaves you unsatisfied, a piece of music genius.
  40. Sep 23, 2010
    9
    MGMT's perfectly-executed blend of indie and electronica hits soulful, inspiring, melancholy, and powerful notes from start to finish. One of the truly amazing albums of 2008.
  41. Nov 1, 2010
    10
    MGMT is different. They make me think psychedelic rock, but they use synths to seal the deal. This is hip. This is in. It's memorable and has me on the edge of my seat. Can't wait.
  42. Dec 30, 2010
    8
    A wonderful psychedelic debut album. Listening to this album is like an acid trip, and that's a great thing. Each song sounds like a single. Who doesn't love the song "Kids"? All In All, A great debut album. B+
  43. May 23, 2011
    10
    One of the best albums of the decade. Its the lyrics. The catchiness. It is just more than an album filled with one dimensional singles. Even those singles have depth.
  44. Jul 28, 2011
    10
    Oracular Spectacular is a spectacular album. Sure, the first 5 songs may be hard to live up to, but if you listen to the last few tracks with an open mind and heart then you should see that they hold up well on their own. However if you are just looking for the best of MGMT then look no further than the first five songs.
  45. Aug 7, 2011
    9
    This was a great album! A great debut by this group. They represented many genres through their music on this album and that is what I liked about it. It can appeal to people on every level. There is Kids, a radio hit (at least here in PDX), Electric Feel (electronic), Weekend Wars (alternative), and Of Moons, Birds & Monsters (rock). This album can appeal to many types of musicThis was a great album! A great debut by this group. They represented many genres through their music on this album and that is what I liked about it. It can appeal to people on every level. There is Kids, a radio hit (at least here in PDX), Electric Feel (electronic), Weekend Wars (alternative), and Of Moons, Birds & Monsters (rock). This album can appeal to many types of music lovers, especially me.

    FAV TRACKS: Kids, Electric Feel, The Youth
    Collapse
  46. j30
    Aug 15, 2011
    9
    Great pop rock album. The opening track is a knock-out. "Time To Pretend" is dark, catchy, and just plain awesome. The rest of the album you're trying to figure out what just hit you.
  47. Dec 24, 2011
    8
    Although not as technical as Congratulations, Oracular Spectacular serves as the bands more fun and easy-to-get-into LP. Other than the two famous electro-pop hits "kids" and "electric feel", the band creates a synthetic psychedelic sound which hasn't been heard since the 1960's. MGMT truly are the rockstars of this generation.
  48. Feb 24, 2012
    8
    Hard to describe the style of this record - I suppose I'd class it as an indie pop dance record. Time to Pretend and Kids were massive singles off this and really propelled MGMT into the mainstream. Although those are the stand out tracks, the album has plenty more to offer in addition. At 10 tracks it's close to the ideal length. The first half of the record is definitely the strongerHard to describe the style of this record - I suppose I'd class it as an indie pop dance record. Time to Pretend and Kids were massive singles off this and really propelled MGMT into the mainstream. Although those are the stand out tracks, the album has plenty more to offer in addition. At 10 tracks it's close to the ideal length. The first half of the record is definitely the stronger side, and the songs that come along later in the album drop in quality a little bit. The best thing for me about this album is that it's got plenty of experimental stuff on it but at the same time pop music is never too far away and the music is always very accessible. Expand
  49. Mar 5, 2012
    10
    An incredible psychedelic experience that will hopefully in future be seen as a classic , as it brought beauty to a dull market and has helped inspire many other artists.
  50. Jun 1, 2013
    10
    This album is great. There are a lot of great songs on this album such as Of Moons, Birds and Monsters, The Youth, Weekend Wars and much more. I guess the only song I don't like on this album is Time to Pretend, but everything else is great.
  51. Aug 11, 2013
    7
    [7.8] Half of the album may be fun and catchy, some of the best indie, as well as the best pop of all time, but the other half is a bit of a bore. This album does not compare well to their second album, which is much stronger all the way through.
  52. Feb 3, 2014
    9
    MGMT makes a breathtaking alternating between psychedelic music from the 60's, rock from the 70's and contemporary electropop. At the beginning, "Time to pretend", prodigious single, sets the bar high; but "Week-end Wars", the second track, intrigues almost as much. And MGMT, over the tracks, surprises and amazes without ever losing us.
  53. Feb 20, 2014
    9
    This is MGMT's best album by far. Each song is fantastically crafted so perfectly to take you on a magical, psychedelic roller coaster. They master every little thing on this album to create something spectacular that hasn't been created just as well on their other albums after. This is one of, if not my favorite album of let alone 2008, the past couple of years entirely when referring toThis is MGMT's best album by far. Each song is fantastically crafted so perfectly to take you on a magical, psychedelic roller coaster. They master every little thing on this album to create something spectacular that hasn't been created just as well on their other albums after. This is one of, if not my favorite album of let alone 2008, the past couple of years entirely when referring to psychedelic, indie rock. Expand
  54. Feb 26, 2014
    8
    The explosion generated from this release seems to have always been there in the present day of indie synth-pop. But it seemingly changed the way people perceive compositions. Beyond the immaculate singles, The Youth and Pieces of What stand as grand gestures of - yes - original statements to the masses. It created a following of cosmic hedonists, even if that was never their intentions.
  55. Jul 22, 2014
    10
    MGMT are great. Andrew and Benjamin are incredible and so genius. This album is revolutionary and perfect. Fantastic sounds convey in everybody deep and mystic emotions. MGMT one of the 100 best music artists of the last 50 years. Very very very good album!
  56. Oct 13, 2014
    8
    This album is pretty genius. The theme of youth and growing up conveyed by the lyrics is thoughtful and interesting. The first few tracks give us a few pop singles, introducing the concepts that the closing tracks capitalize on. The last two tracks give me chills every time. However, a few tracks get hard to listen to, such as The Youth and 4th Dimensional Transition. It's greatThis album is pretty genius. The theme of youth and growing up conveyed by the lyrics is thoughtful and interesting. The first few tracks give us a few pop singles, introducing the concepts that the closing tracks capitalize on. The last two tracks give me chills every time. However, a few tracks get hard to listen to, such as The Youth and 4th Dimensional Transition. It's great nonetheless. Favorite track: Of Moons, Birds & Monsters Expand
  57. Mar 27, 2015
    8
    Youthful, energetic, uplifting and vibrant. This album was a breath of fresh air, MGMT creating a distinct sound of their own and littered with a number of 'spaced-out' tracks. Listening gives one the feeling of buoyancy in a world full of stifling gravity. A positive celebration of music that many will attempt to copy.
  58. Jun 10, 2016
    8
    There might be a slight sense of pretentiousness in MGMT's "Oracular Spectacular" but the creative synthesizer sound in songs like "Time to Pretend" and "Kids" and the unorthodox structural production draws your attention by constantly surprising you.
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Alternative Press
    90
    Oracular may be a complex effort, but the verdict is simple--it's brilliant. [Feb 2008, p.115]
  2. Under The Radar
    80
    Though the record is slightly front-loaded, there's nary a dud to be found here. [Winter 2008, p.86]
  3. While Oracular Spectacular has its sophomoric moments (you’d be wise to avoid the nasal whine of 'Weekend Wars'), a listen to 'Climbing To New Lows'--a catchy demo set from their undergrad days--will make anyone see what attracted the bigwigs at Columbia in the first place.