We’re fated to pretend :: VOTD

Time to Pretend :: MGMT
from the album, Oracular Spectacular
Directed by Ray Tintori

Time to Pretend was the debut single (in the UK) from MGMT’s album Oracular Spectacular, although an earlier version was released on their Time to Pretend EP.
The single was released as a 7″ and CD featuring the b-sides Weekend Wars (BBC Radio 1 Session) and Metanoia, respectively.

In early 2009, the song was re-released in the UK. The song is # 493 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The band was quoted, while recording a session at Abbey Road Studios: “We wrote Time to Pretend our senior year of college, and the music was inspired by a praying mantis we had in our house. She laid eggs and it died, and we laid the egg case on this kinda model pirate ship on the mantle piece, and the eggs hatched and all these baby praying mantises were climbing up the rigging of the ship, and it was pretty crazy…uhm so the music was inspired by our praying mantis that liked to dance to the Clash {laugh} and the lyrics are just about us imagining being rock stars….and yeah, fantasy rock star life.”

Digital Spy asked Andrew VanWyngarden if he was concerned that some people take the lyric “shoot some heroin and f–k with the stars” to be autobiographical. He replied: “I think that’s cool. I think it’s great that some people can listen to the song and get offended. Some will think it’s serious and think we’re actually druggies, while others will see the tongue-in-cheek element to it. That’s all I can hope for as a lyricist – confusion!”

Ben Goldwasser told The Independent November 21, 2008 that this satire of the rock-star aspiration, “refers to this fantasy, this joke of us being sell-out rock stars. It’s not like we ever set out to have that lifestyle – we didn’t really want that, but it’s definitely different now we’re playing big festival shows and touring all the time. Some of it is true. It’s pretty weird. I don’t think the fame is really the ultimate part of the fantasy. We wanted to get to the point where we could do really ridiculous things. We want to have some really crazy stage production.”

Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann produced the album. In an interview with Crossfire, MGMT member Ben Goldwasser discussed working with Fridmann: “When we started writing we didn’t know that he was going to produce us. I mean, we had randomly put him on this list of dream producers who we would like to work with and we ended up talking to him on the phone and we hit it off really well. We love his production work. I mean, we didn’t want to work with him because we wanted to sound like the Flaming Lips, it was more that we felt like he understood us on a personal level and he really got out music. We were pretty sure after talking to him that he would make it the album we wanted it to be.”

The song’s original title was Mantis Sailing Home.

The music video (see above) contains references to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 film The Holy Mountain and the classic book Lord of the Flies.

Editor’s Note: This song always reminds me of the Summer my oldest daughter and I went to the Coachella Music Festival. We did not see MGMT during the festival, but we had made Mix CD’s for the ride there, and this song had wound up on both of our Mixes. Every time I hear it since I think of us driving to the desert, just the two of us, ready for a weekend of live music.


2 thoughts on “We’re fated to pretend :: VOTD

  1. Lovely song and I enjoyed listening to it and the background information really helps to listen to a song in the light of what the artists had said about it. Thanks for sharing with us, glad that it reminds of a lovely time together with your daughter. Take care and have a lovely week.

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