The self-titled third album from pop’s most misunderstood pair of mushroom-munching eccentrics, MGMT does a fine job of further unraveling its creators’ reluctant status as hipster pinups. Its first single, the deceptively catchy “Your Life Is a Lie,” seemingly took direct aim at the kids who loved “Kids.” (“Count your friends/On your hands/Now look again/They aren’t your friends.”) Now comes the extremely unsettling video for “Cool Song No. 2,” which alludes to AIDS by showing a beautiful young man deforming into a freaky-looking plant after taking too many drugs. (At least, that’s my take on it.)
“At this point in our careers, we can’t write a pop song,” one of the boys recently told Pitchfork, but that’s not really true, since tunes like “Alien Days” are just old-fashioned pop songs layered with candied-up sludge and distortion. But like 2010’s Congratulations, those fully realized moments get swallowed up by lots of half-baked, deliberately self-destructive experimentation. Like The Terror by The Flaming Lips, MGMT is one strange-ass album that might make more sense over time.