Saturday, November 9, 2013

Song #417 of 9999 - Electric Feel by MGMT

Song #417 of 9999

Title: Electric Feel
Artist: MGMT
Year: 2007
Album: Oracular Spectacular

I love "Kids" and "Time to Pretend" makes for a tremendous first single, but "Electric Feel" is a damn near perfect pop song. I love the palette of colors that greets the listener from the outset: punchy mid-range bass guitar, funk guitar stabs and a hazy synth that just hangs in a halo above it all. If you listen closely, there are like five or six other things going on in the background (most enter after at the 0:10 mark), including bubbling synth pulses, sustained strings, jangly guitars—it's a richly layered production that works on your subconscious as well as your conscious.

Rhythmically, we're presented with a meter and drum pattern rare for dance or pop. I suppose the most logical time signature is 6/4 and the backbeat is presented as a sort-of half-waltz: boom chick boom boom chick chick. The bass alternates between a syncopated riff and straight eighths:

Elements of disco and synth pop come together to create this unique sonic environment. When the lead vocal enters, the drums adjust to a more straightforward pattern (boom-chick boom-chick boom-chick). In fact, we never hear that original drum beat again but for thirty glorious seconds we experience something truly unique.

The rest of the song is great too, of course. Hooks are set up nicely and lyrics are clever cheese in support of one great simile: Ooh girl, shock me like an electric eel. After an extended instrumental break, we even get a nice little anthemic encouragement to shout on the dance floor: Do what you feel now! Electric feel now! It's too bad that same advice has led to increasingly weak output from MGMT and their light has dimmed since the aptly titled Oracular Spectacular. Here's hoping they figure out a way to reconnect their power supply to the energy grid responsible for this gem.

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