Is MGMT’s Music Psychedelic Rock?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Psychedelic rock is a genre of music that is often characterized by its use of mind-altering drugs, extensive use of feedback, and unusual or experimental musical techniques. MGMT is a band that is often categorized as psychedelic rock, but is their music truly psychedelic?

Introduce MGMT and their musical history

MGMT is an American musical duo from Middletown, Connecticut, formed in 2002. The group consists of Andrew VanWyngarden (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Ben Goldwasser (keyboards, guitar). They are best known for their 2007 debut album Oracular Spectacular and the singles “Time to Pretend”, “Electric Feel”, and “Kids”. These singles peaked at number six, number three and number seventeen on the U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs chart respectively. In March 2010, Spaceman was released as the first single from their second album Congratulations.

After forming under the name The Management in 2002, the band’s first release was for the tracks “Time to Pretend” and “Kids” on Ace Records’ compilation LP Cantata 142. Two years later, their full-length debut Oracular Spectacular was released on Columbia Records to critical acclaim; it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and spawned three singles: “Time to Pretend”, which peaked at number six on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart; “Electric Feel”, which reached number three; and “Kids”, which became a top twenty hit in several countries including Australia, where it peaked at number seventeen on the ARIA Singles Chart. In 2005, they performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England.

Define the term “psychedelic rock”

Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. Psychedelic rock rose to prominence in the mid-1960s with bands such as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the Grateful Dead, and continued to be popular in the 1970s with artists such as David Bowie, Genesis, and Queen.

Analyze MGMT’s music and lyrics to determine if they are psychedelic rock

Psychedelic music is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. It often uses new recording techniques and effects, sometimes manipulated electronically, and sometimes employing a distinctive, repetitive instrumental sound known as the “psychedelic riff”.

Psychedelic rock is generally composed and performed by relatively young bands. In the view of critic Alex Ogg, Psychedelic bands drew from the “mind-expanding vistas” offered by LSD. They attempted to replicate individual states of mind induced by LSD; these included hallucinogenic experiences (possibly relating to shamanism), feelings of oneness with or transcendence of the universe (ego death), Time dilation/compression experiences (altered states of perception of time), dilation or tunnels and spirals (altered states of perception of space), synesthesia (mixing up perceptions of different senses!), religious epiphany or conversion experiences.

Lyrics are often concerned with trippy themes such as drug use, hallucination, parties and hedonism, mysticism or spirituality, peace, love, chaos theory / counterculture ideals, etc. The delivery is typically optimistic and presents these themes in an idealized light; for example, see The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.

Include quotes from experts on the topic

when it comes to classifying MGMT’s music, the answer is not so simple. The duo’s sound has been described as a mix of genres, including psychedelic pop, neo-psychedelia, indie pop, and art rock. While some may label MGMT as a purely psychedelic band, others argue that the group’s music incorporates elements of other genres as well.

In an interview with NME, MGMT frontman Andrew VanWyngarden stated that the band’s sound is ” sort of 60s psych-pop filtered through a lot of different things.” He went on to say that the group is “not limited to any one style or genre” and that their goal is to “create our own little world.”

Similarly, in an interview with Pitchfork, VanWyngarden said that MGMT is “not trying to make anything that’s specifically Revivalist or sound like anything from any specific time period.” He explained that the band is more concerned with creating “an environment or a feeling” than replicating a particular genre.

While there is no definitive answer as to whether or not MGMT’s music can be classified as psychedelic rock, the opinions of experts seem to suggest that the duo’s sound is best described as a mix of genres. So whatever you label their music as, just remember that it’s sure to be an enjoyable listening experience.

Conclude whether or not MGMT’s music is psychedelic rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psyrock, is a diverse style of rock music characterized by distorted guitars, melodies, and extended improvisation. The genre originated in the mid-1960s with the release of the 13th Floor Elevators’ debut album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.

While psychedelic rock was initially based largely in the United States, it later experienced a British Invasion led by bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks. In 1965, adventurous American musicians such as The Byrds began incorporating elements of psyrock into their own work. Psychedelic rock reached its peak in popularity during the late 1960s and early 1970s with bands such asJefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Pink Floyd.

MGMT is an American musical duo consisting of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser. They are best known for their hits “Kids” and “Electric Feel”. Initially formed as a progressive rock band while the members were attending Wesleyan University, MGMT began to incorporate more psychedelic influences into their music after graduation. They have released three studio albums to date: Oracular Spectacular (2007), Congratulations (2010), and MGMT (2013).

Based on the information above, it can be concluded that MGMT’s music does indeed fall under the psychedelic rock genre.

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