MGMT and the 30-Second Curse at Work
Guess what homeslice? I created this playlist on Spotify for work. Yeah, Spotify. I joined it. Sure, it sounds like what you do to your pants after being held at gunpoint on the subway after midnight. Perhaps that’s why the first song on my playlist is “Icky Thump.” Either way, I somehow missed Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Friendster (for you old timers). When I was full-time for a popular lad mag, I used Pandora. Then I maxed-out my free-listening allowance and gave it the old F.U.
In an attempt to fondly remember seeing them at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, the number 2 song on my only Spotify playlist is by the band MGMT. Through countless hours of listening, I’ve discovered that I like songs where the hook is a melody as opposed to a catchy chorus. It sets the stage for lyrics to be more insightful while also taking backstage to the actual composition, and with this song, that’s absolutely the case.
Listening more intently, I discovered the lyrics to at first sound vapid, belying the melody, and I’m like, “Why create this song if the impetus was simply not to grow old and potentially reveal yourself to be a dirty old man?” But then, the choice of using third person to narrate this vain scenario made me realize that this was more of a testimony to what’s wrong with the world, with capitalism, with conquest. So, roughly 30 seconds in I’m like, “Should we all just check out? Is that the message? Because, truthfully, it sounds really good right now.” And that, my friends, is when the curse rears its ugly head. You might as well go into the washroom, turn off the lights and scream “Bloody Mary” or “I hate the Bell Witch” three times. The effect is basically the same.
Just as I’m devising a master plan to escape while listening to this awesome tuneage, this crazed coworker comes into my cube and says, “The boss is pissed. I don’t know why, but I told him you did it.” “Perfect,” I thought. I diffused the situation and hit repeat. “But wait,” thought I, “what if something else weird happens?” “Nah.” I hit repeat.
Upon hearing it again, it sounded as if perhaps this song is actually bred of sincerity, and a point besides the obvious is not being made. This is their aim, clean and honest—they are musicians, after all. Cocaine and models for wives. Sure. You can’t really have one without the other. Well, you can, but then you begin to want the other… Whaa? BOOM! I see a pair of wild eyes behind my monitor. The IT guy. Whatever crazytrain started, he’s gotta fix. I look at the track. 31 seconds. Motherfucker!
It’s as if corporate society immediately senses your dissent, and says, “Oh no you don’t, you little punk-ass bitch! You’re going to rot in your cubicle like everyone else. Skynet needs you to provide energy for the machines until there are enough of them to DESTROY ALL OF YOU!”
Getting back from emergency No. 2 and totally perplexed, I Googled the lyrics. They seem harmless enough. What wizardry is this? Scout’s honor, every time I play this song now, coworkers flock to my cubicle with a dire emergency. It’s always something that needs my immediate attention and can’t be resolved quickly or easily, and it always means I have to get up from my desk. It’s not lost on me that the band’s name, MGMT, is an abbreviation for Management, and that’s who always comes storming into my cube. I’m not a superstitious person, but each time I insist on playing it, the same fate as before is inevitable.
So, I finally come clean with my boss and tell them the whole bit. He laughs his ass off and insists I tell his boss. So, when I tell him, my big boss proposes to listen to it immediately. He finds it on YouTube and hits play. We huddle around the monitor, and big boss says, “I want that job! Sit half-naked and play drums all day.” He too, was drinking the Kool-Aid. Then, NO BULLSHIT, 30 seconds in, he gets a distressed phone call from his right hand guy. It took him two minutes to calm him down. He had to promise an emergency meeting first thing in the morning. Right then and there, I just laughed out loud. And then we all did, with dude still on the phone.
So, as good as the song is, I will no longer play it at work. It seems to be okay when I play it at home. Oh yeah, the name of the song? “Time To Pretend.”
Do you dare tempt fate and play this while at work? Comment with the results! Chances are, it only happens in MY office. Typical.
When I was full-time for a popular lad mag, I used Pandora. Never mind you can’t hit repeat, the real pet peeve for me with them was topping out each month of the free user max of 35 hrs a month. Working 12 hour days with headphones on meant I ran out of my tunes pretty fast. So, along comes Spotify. You can hit repeat as often as you like, there’s no limit to the number of hours you can listen, and the only real downside is every one of your friends on Facebook can see what you’re listening to, which could also be construed as a good thing.
Here are the lyrics:
I’m feelin’ rough I’m feelin’ raw I’m in the prime of my life
Let’s make some music make some money find some models for wives
I’ll move to Paris, shoot some heroin and fuck with the stars
You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars
This is our decision to live fast and die young.
We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun.
Yeah it’s overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?
Forget about our mothers and our friends
We were fated to pretend.
I’ll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I’ll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I’ll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone
But there is really nothing, nothing we can do
Love must be forgotten. life can always start up anew
The models will have children, we’ll get a divorce,
We’ll find some more models, everything must run its course
We’ll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend
Yeah yeah yeah
Read more at http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858575598/#0kT7QewIb1Ax1DBy.99