Tag Archives: MGMT

Happy MGMT Day… sort of

“This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.
Yeah, it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute,”

— from “Time to Pretend” by MGMT

And so the cycle continues…

The other week I was giving one of my friends a ride in Lawrence, Kan. We we’re going to the gym to play basketball — but that’s not really tangential at all to the point of this story. Of course, if you want to draw some kind of obscure meaning or motif from the game of basketball. Go ahead.

So my friend slides into the car, and the first thing he sees is a stack of old, beat-up CD’s. Most of them were burned years ago, but they’ve gone back into rotation in my Ford Taurus because I don’t have an iPod adapter.

His words come quickly.

“Oh, wow, CD’s?”
“Yea,” I say, “Pretty wild, huh?

Moments later, I pop a CD into the car’s CD player and start driving. And then the thought comes.

Wait, it’s wild to still have CD’s in your car? Really? What year is it?

There’s a reason I bring this story up. Today (Tuesday, April 13, 2010) is MGMT Day.

Today, MGMT’s second studio album, Congratulations, is released to the general public.

If people still bought CD’s, thousands of college-aged kids would be trekking to Best Buy or Target or — gasp — Sam Goody to purchase the album.

But, of course, people don’t buy CDs anymore, so I’m not really sure of the significance of the “album release date”.

I suppose the album also becomes available on iTunes today, so perhaps a large number of technologically-challenged kids will fire up their laptops and throw down $12.99 (or whatever arbitrary cost an album on iTunes goes for these days).

But for me — and I’d like to hope that I’m not alone — all this day means is that the commercial album is now in the public domain. And that fact should make it relatively easy to download the album for free on the latest trendy downloading apparatus*.

*And yes, I know that any “true” techie could have located a pirated copy of the album on the interwebs weeks ago.

So, yes, in one sense, this story is about the demise of the album format. About how the digitization of music has created a disincentive for bands to spend time crafting brilliant studio albums. And about how “themed” rock albums — and album with eloquence and coherence and a collective narrative — are dying.

But that’s only a part of the story.

It’s also about how those same forces — the internet, digitization, and the proliferation of social media — have made it impossible for a band to stay relevant and hip for more than, say, 6 or 7 minutes. More on this shortly.

Yes. Today is MGMT Day.

And MGMT is perhaps the biggest college band in the world right now. Walk down the street in a college town… and you’ll likely hear “Kids” or “Electric Feel” blasting from porch speakers as college kids play some regional drinking game.

So, yes, MGMT passes the college town music corollary.

And the progression usually looks something like this.

The “hippest” and “coolest” music will always start at college radio stations, where hipster DJ’s with picky tastes will weed out the best up-and-coming bands.

Soon, the music moves to the rest of campus, where it gains traction in dorms and greek houses and off-campus shitholes.

And finally, it reaches its tipping point. Some mag like Rolling Stone is praising MGMT, trying to co-opt some of MGMT’s hipness for the magazine’s own brand.

That’s how the cycle works, has for decades.

Of course, the cycle used to be organic. And there was something romantic about it.

But now, because of twitter and facebook and the google machine, the cycle moves with the intense focus of a college kid on adderall.

And that’s where a band like MGMT comes in.

This band has it all. Seriously. If somebody were to create a band to go viral on college campuses, you’d piece together MGMT.

First off, nobody would even believe that those names could be real?

Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden?

VanWyngarden?

They play music that’s just poppy enough to attract a mass audience. And it’s just synthy and experimental enough to sound better with the addition of drugs. … Did I mention they’re based in Brooklyn.

But here’s the thing:

Today is MGMT Day. Thousands of college kids will find some way to listen to their new album. And thousands more will listen to it at parties. And soon, some commercial radio stations will throw MGMT into rotation.

And the progression will continue. And for some reason, this will make MGMT progressively less hip.

And all those kids who made Goldwasser and VanWyngarden will slowly move away and latch on to the next “it” band. All those kids who found comfort in discovering MGMT — the band that was their own little secret, the band that wrote beautiful pop songs, the band that sounded smart and raw and genuine all at the same time… well, those kids will slowly move away.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. This is the way the cycle works. And it’s worked like this for years and years and years.

It’s just too bad it happens so quickly these days.

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A List Mania unlike any other

So here we go, the sun is out, the golf ball starts flying at Augusta on Thursday, the baseball season has started, and another addition of List Mania is upon us.

For those not in the know, List Mania is an ode to former Kansas City Star and current Sports Illustrated columnist Joe Posnanski, who famously wrote lists until one day, many years ago, he wrote a column saying he would never list again…

So here goes…

Three sports upsets that I wish would have happened

1. Tom Watson at the 2009 British Open
2. Butler over Duke in the 2010 NCAA title game
3. U.S. soccer team over Germany in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup

White players who’ve won MOP of the Final Four since 1977

1. Christian Laettner, Duke, 1991
2. Bobby Hurley, Duke, 1992
3. Jeff Sheppard, Kentucky, 1998
4. Kyle Singler, Duke, 2010

Top five pitchers in baseball

1. Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals
2. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
3. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
4. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
5. Johan Santana, New York Mets

The five most underrated players in baseball

1. Ben Zobrist, utility player, Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays’ best-kept secret started 81 games at second base and 44 games in the outfield (also chipped in six games at short and two at first base), but his bat is what really makes him special. He had a .405 on-base percentage and an OPS-plus of 146. That’s what happens when you hit 27 homers and 28 doubles*. To put this in perspective. No Royal has had an OPS-plus of more than 146 since Mike Sweeney posted a 148 in 2002. Did we mention Zobrist will make $438,100** this season?

*Zobrist also seems to have good speed. At least, a high-ranking official in the Royals’ organization once praised Yuniesky Betancourt’s arm because he threw out Zobrist on a slow roller. So I’m guessing the official thinks Zobrist can fly.

**Numbers obtained from of the website, Cot’s Baseball Contracts

2. Shin-Soo Choo, right fielder, Cleveland Indians

Choo, who turns 28 in July, had a .394 on-base percentage with 20 homers and 38 doubles in 2009. Pretty good for a guy who made $420,300. … And I don’t want to sound like a scout here, but the guy really does look impressive in person.

3. Chone Figgins, second baseman, Seattle Mariners

You may ask how Figgins can still be underrated. After all, the Mariners signed him to a four-year, $36 million deal in the offseason. Still, I’m not sure people understand how valuable Figgins is. Last season, according to FanGraphs.com, Figgins’ WAR (a metric that utilizes offense, defense and baserunning to measure total value) was 6.1, the 11th highest in baseball.*

*Who was ranked ahead of Figgins? How about this list?

1. Ben Zobrist, 8.6
2. Albert Pujols, 8.5
3. Joe Mauer, 8.1
4. Chase Utley, 7.6
5. Derek Jeter, 7.4
6. Evan Longoria, 7.2
7. Hanley Ramirez, 7.2
8. Ryan Zimmerman, 7.2
9. Prince Fielder, 6.8
10. Adrian Gonzalez, 6.8

4. Franklin Gutierrez, center fielder, Seattle Mariners

By nearly any defensive metric, Gutierrez is the best outfielder in baseball – and by some, he is the best defensive player in all of baseball. Gold Gloves be damned.

5. Erick Aybar, shortstop, LA Angels

Similar to Figgins, Aybar may be even more valuable than some people realize. He’ll make just a shade over $2 million this season. A pretty solid investment for a 26 year old who hit .312 last season with an on-base percentage of .353. Watch him play in person, and you’ll also realize that the kid can flat out fly.

Five players selected after the Royals picked Luke Hochevar No. 1 in the 2006 MLB draft

1. Evan Longoria, picked third by Tampa Bay
2. Clayton Kershaw, picked seventh by the LA Dodgers
3. Tim Lincecum, picked 10th by San Francisco
4. Joba Chamberlain, picked 41 by the New York Yankees
5. Brett Anderson, picked 55th by Arizona (traded to Oakland)

Five players selected after the Royals picked Alex Gordon No. 2 in the 2005 MLB draft

1. Ryan Zimmerman, picked fourth by Washington
2. Ryan Braun, picked fifth by Milwaukee
3. Troy Tulowitzki, picked seventh by Colorado
4. Andrew McCutcheon, picked 11th by Pittsburgh
5. Jacoby Ellsbury, picked 28th by Boston

Five things that may only interest me

1. So they have Cheeseburger-flavored Doritos now. Really, cheeseburger. Of course, I had to try them. The review? Well, they really do taste like cheeseburger. You get the cheesy taste of regular Doritos, a hint of ketchup – and the smoky flavor of the burger patty. Of course, I’m not so sure this is all a good thing. I’m not so sure I need my cheeseburgers in chip form.

2. President Obama is not allowed to throw out any more first pitches. The poor guy has tried twice, and both times he has come out looking only slightly better than this guy…

Hey, I appreciate that Obama can hoop a little bit. That’s impressive. But is it too much to ask that our commander-in-chiefs have the ability to shoot a basketball AND throw a baseball? Dubya could fill up the strike zone – but he also once did this…

3. The strangest thing about the Masters? How can the most beautiful golf course in the world be in the one of the most plain towns in America?

Five song lyrics for the spring

1. “But times change, sailors these days, when I’m in port I get what I need. Not just Havanas or bananas or daiquiris, but that American creation on which I feed.”

2. “Twelve hours out of Mackinaw City, stopped in a bar to have a brew. Met a girl and we had a few drinks, and I told her what I’d decided to do.”

3. “And its funny how it`s the little things in life that mean the most, not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes.”

3. “The water is warm, but it’s sending me shivers. A baby is born, crying out for attention. Memories fade, like looking through a fogged mirror… Decisions to decisions are made and not bought, but I thought, this wouldn’t hurt a lot, I guess not.”

4. “You can’t start a fire, you can’t start a fire without a spark.”

Five questions to ponder

1. Will Kevin Durant win more NBA titles than LeBron James?

2. Will MGMT’s latest album, Congratulations, released this Tuesday, be the best album of the year?

3. Is Barcelona’s Lionel Messi the most dominant athlete in the world?

4. Whose idea was it to put an “S” in the word “lisp”?

5. Hey is that the truth or are you talking trash? Is your game M.V.P. like Steve Nash?

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