Features Articles Are we being punk'd by MGMT?

Are we being punk'd by MGMT?

MGMT - Congratulations / Ben Folds - Way To Normal

MGMT is now less than two weeks away from the release of their sophomore album, Congratulations, following their widely successful debut release, Oracular Spectacular.

You can count me among the people who consider Oracular Spectacular one of the best albums of the past decade. The full upcoming album, Congratulations, is now streaming on their website along with a short annoucement that says "Hey everybody, the album leaked, and we wanted you to be able to hear it from us. We wanted to offer it as a free download but that didn't make sense to anyone but us."

After listening to the posted songs, I started to question the intention of publishing the songs early. That, in combination with the music to be heard, I began to wonder if MGMT is pulling a "fake" release stunt similar to what Ben Folds did back in 2008 for his upcoming album Way To Normal. For Way To Normal, Ben Folds quickly recorded a series of songs, almost free-form, and then purposefully leaked them onto the internet as the actual songs from Way To Normal before the album's release — something you can read about in Rolling Stone.

The tracks presented as part of Congratulations remind me of the rough, incomplete music that Folds recorded for his fake album. The first two songs are definitely awkward, but the 3rd track "Someone's Missing" sounds more like an unfinished idea than a composition. And although the track "Brian Eno" has a full set of (questionable) lyrics, the music is lacking the attention to detail that made their debut release so strong — a theme that is pervasive through a good portion of the album.

Both "Flash Delirium" and the title track "Congratulations" could easily be recordings intended for the final release, but are either of them what MGMT should be using as a lead single? I suppose "Flash Delirium" could be, and today MGMT released a video to go along with "Flash Delirium" which would lend credence to the legitimacy of the song, especially given elaborate nature of the video.

Ben Folds intermixed legitimate songs with his fake songs — could MGMT be doing the same thing? Is my theory of a fake MGMT album leak strong enough that I should even make a guess as to which tracks are real and which are fake? Come April 13th, will my conjecture here make me look foolish or astute? I'm desperately hoping for the latter, but not for my sake.

Info: MGMT
Connect: MySpace, Facebook