“When You Die,” the second release from MGMT’s upcoming album Little Dark Age, once again reveals MGMT’s affinity for and ability to relay dark, psychedelic, and downright disturbing themes.
“When You Die” encapsulates a unique perspective of life and death. The dark, scathing lyrics are contrasted with their distinctively psychedelic sound. Musically, “When You Die” is reminiscent of the declining cadence of an expiring music box, something simple and beautiful that has come to sound distorted and monotonous over the course of time. This sound is seemingly a metaphor for the life that MGMT portrays through their lyrics.
The fascinating, yet deeply unnerving music video for “When You Die” depicts the tedious life and sudden death of a struggling magician. Day after day, the subject of the video follows the same routine, and his life has seemingly become absurdly dull, as he struggles to please the unwilling audience of his magical display to no avail.
In the same way that one may laugh at a magician’s farce, “When You Die” associates
the end of a life with hearty laughs, which are incorporated into the eerily cheerful, yet distorted musical elements.
By: Katherine Gordon