December 7, 2008


OMM's Top 20 tracks of the year: MGMT's Time to Pretend is Observer Music Monthly's favourite track of 2008. Frontman Andrew VanWyngarden tells us about the inspirations behind the song. Plus, find out who features in the rest of our top 20 (The Guardian, 12/07/08)

1. Time to Pretend, MGMT

'This is our decision, to live fast and die young/We've got the vision, now let's have some fun,' sang Andrew VanWyngarden with dreamy insouciance on this satire on – or paean to? – rock's most shameful excesses. When he wrote the track with Ben Goldwasser in 2004, both were two wide-eyed Wesleyan college kids in Connecticut. As it turns out, Time to Pretend (originally titled The Mantis Sailing Home) proved less the in-joke and more a prophetic heralding of their future. Genre-blending psych-pop, the track became a freakbeat theme for the Skins generation. Then Radiohead and Oasis and rock fans everywhere discovered the tune, too.

OMM: You wrote Time to Pretend in 2004, when you were still at college in Connecticut?

Andrew VanWyngarden: That's right. I was at a yard sale and there was this old wooden model pirate ship. On the boat was this giant preying mantis so I bought it. It was a great pet to have. It's actually the state insect of Connecticut. We would have dance parties and she loved to dance. Her favourite song was Overpowered by Funk by the Clash. It was a party house that we were living in, with five good friends. Ben made a loop of music that was inspired by the movements of this preying mantis. He played it to me and I thought it was cool and initially it was called The Mantis Sailing Home. It was like a joke song.
We performed it like that a couple of times and then we had access to a school studio and we decided to record a couple of tracks. That song, Time to Pretend and another song called Boogie Down. I wrote new lyrics talking about a joke fantasy of us becoming rock stars and getting really famous and becoming huge touring musicians. It was funny that we were just these two kids in Connecticut. We hadn't played a show outside our tiny little campus. We played it a few times at the end of the year. Then we put it on an EP. An intern at Columbia passed the EP onto an A&R woman and she liked it. That's the reason we got signed I guess.

The rest are listed below also. Here's Metacritic's Best of 2008. Anyone got any favorites for 2008? I'm surprised this one isn't on their list.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2008 10:56 AM
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