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MGMT's 'Loss Of Life' eulogizes previous style, highlights experimental pop 

The indie pop genre was forever altered in 2007 with the release of MGMT's debut album, "Oracular Spectacular." Featuring instant classics such as “Time to Pretend," "Electric Feel" and "Kids," the album introduced MGMT as a powerful musical force and provided staples for upbeat pop playlists of the 2010s and beyond. 

The band's newest album, "Loss Of Life," lives up to its name as it solidifies the death of MGMT’s once high-energy synth-pop style, replacing it with a collection of experimental and faux '80s tracks of an entirely different genre. 

MGMT consistently utilizes various instruments to create its full, sometimes cacophonous sound. This often includes electronica and psychedelic rock elements, which likens the duo to icons like Pink Floyd when paired with Floyd’s epic-length songs. 

"Loss Of Life" sticks to this formula on a majority of tracks. Each song seems to contain multiple songs within it, journeying through different sections of varying themes within one title. "Loss Of Life" tests the limits and goes deeper than the average MGMT album and is meant to be appreciated by those who enjoy how such music is packaged and delivered.

The album begins with "Loss Of Life (part 2)," two minutes of distorted radio transmissions and eerie motifs swimming in a sea of static. The offputting introduction reestablishes the band's affinity for electronic themes while asserting the experimental style of the next 43 minutes. 

The album's third track, "Dancing In Babylon (feat. Christine and the Queens)," introduces the album's trend of paying homage to 1980s music. This song is specifically emblematic of a power ballad duet, featuring deep pounding drums, synth effects and captivating harmonies from the featured artist. The switch-ups of the drum pattern and differing moods throughout the song keep listeners on their toes and engaged throughout the ambient ending. 

“People In The Streets" is another testament to the iconic decade, this time with a greater R&B emphasis. The initial instrumental background is simple, providing a flowing and hazy foundation for the delicately delivered lyrical confessions. The song features classic elements of '80s power ballads (insanely powerful drumming, electrifying synth and guitar solos, etc.), all while personalizing the style through modern distortion techniques.  

MGMT didn't end its historical odes in the 1980s. "Mother Nature" is a low-energy, folksy track emblematic of The Beatles mid-career. Light cymbal touches are paired with ringing notes and passionate vocals that pack a punch. The instruments dominate the whole song, ending with a sudden rush of electric guitars and high-speed drums that fade away as quickly as they appear. "Nothing To Declare" also takes on this folk style with a melancholic twist and crescendoing resolution. 

One of the album's highlights is "Nothing Changes." The track is reminiscent of The Cure with unique and personal touches only MGMT could have created, particularly a bittersweet callback to a track from their "Oracular Spectacular" days. As the song continues, multiple repetitive melodies weave together against a natural background, crescendoing slowly. 

The lyrics are personal, honest and delivered by a voice that incorporates feelings of resignation, anger and victory. The moving song is completed by additions like the brass interlude and chorus of background singers as the narrator laments his stationary standing in life. 

Another standout track on the album is "Bubblegum Dog," a twangy and stirring blues-rock track. The song begins quietly before engaging in a cacophony driven by the consistent, sinking vocal melody. "Bubblegum Dog" juxtaposes other tracks, like the soft lullaby in "Phradie's Song." The various influences between those two tracks --- from Cage the Elephant to Beach House --- exemplify the band's evolution and range. 

The penultimate "I Wish I Was Joking," is one of the flaws that holds "Loss Of Life" back from achieving the same level as "Oracular Spectacular." While the atmospheric song serves as a suitable ambiance, the lyrics miss the mark and the track is overall unnecessary to the album's flow when compared to other songs. The futuristic effects demonstrate what happens when electronic influence goes too far, creating an inharmonious listen. 

The album comes to a close with the title track. The sparse lyrics and melancholy synth background transition into a symphonic detour, setting the song up for a grand ending. The last minute of the album is triumphant, saturated with electronic effects and a suitably weird way to end an equally strange album. 


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