“I think the album in general is kind of, like, lyrically and musically, a reaction to fame and success. We said that it wasn’t going to be, but then we realised that was impossible, because we were just writing songs that were coming from whatever mindset we were in at the time, and the mindset we were in was post year-and-a-half of touring, chaos, like we had been in a tornado of chaos, so we didn’t really know what to do, so we wrote songs that ended up being about that. But they’re also about that pseudo-mystical … bullshit.”
Congratulations, composed of 9 tracks, has resolved to be everything Oracular Spectacular was not – namely, lacking any kind of easily identifiable hit single. In doing so MGMT has no doubt followed whatever artistic vision they had for themselves, distancing themselves from your classic pop-culture.
Congratulations is not only the name for the album, but for the first track. It simbolizes all the doubts, regrets and uncertainties that came with the popularity and fame they gained. How it is not only strange to them, but not for the reasons they’d want. They are skeptical to accept this fame, because it has come because of the aforementioned ironic facade. It also pokes fun at the petty problems that arise with recognition.
Dead in the water It's not a paid vacation The sons and daughters of city officials Attend demonstrations It's hardly a sink or swim When all is well if the ticket sells Out with a whimper It's not a blaze of glory You look down from your temple As people endeavor to make it a story And chisel a marble word But all is lost if it's never heard But I've got someone to make reports That tell me how my money's spent To book my stays and draw my blinds So I can't tell what's really there And all I need's a great big congratulations I'll keep your dreams You pay attention for me As strange as it seems I'd rather dissolve than have you ignore me The ground may be moving fast But I tied my boots to a broken mast The difference is clear You throw it in your cauldron Rust and veneer, dusk and dawn Steinways and Baldwins You start with a simple stock of all the waste And salt to taste But damn my luck and damn these friends That keep on combing back their smiles I save my grace with half-assed guilt And lay down the quilt upon the lawn Spread my arms and soak up congratulations