This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #220: Kids by MGMT.
For the past couple of weeks, we have spent a lot of time mining Gold records from the Classic Rock seam that runs throughout the course of Music History. However, as I am often reminded by the ones I love in this house, there are songs of worth from beyond the start of this century. Today, we return to meet one of those more modern bands, a duo who go by the name, MGMT. MGMT or “Management” as they originally called themselves (until they realized there was already another band with that name) are two young men named Andrew VanWynGarden and Ben Goldwasser. Andrew does most of the singing, while Ben does most of the playing of instruments. While both men are multi-instrumentalists, the band, itself, is known to be more of a Synth-Pop band. Earlier in this countdown, I profiled their debut single called, “Time To Pretend”. (which you can read here). That song came from one of the biggest selling albums of the 2000s called, “Oracular Spectacular”, which firmly established MGMT as a creative force to be reckoned with. That song, and the video that accompanied it, were highly imaginative and won many awards. Taking imaginative looks at life’s journey has become, somewhat of, a trademark for this duo. Today’s song, “Kids” also comes from their debut album and is equally as imaginative, as you shall soon see.
The song, “Kids” is loosely based upon the Christmas classic, “The Polar Express”. If you remember that story, you will remember that there was a special form of innocence that allowed children to hear the ringing of Santa’s sleigh bell when their parents, jaded by the realities of adulthood, could not. It is this separation of how children and adults view the same world differently that forms the basis of the song, “Kids”. In “Kids”, the duo explore the notion of responsibility and how, as children (and even as the university aged boys that they were when they wrote this song), there is a certain freedom from having to accept the responsibilities of life. But, at the same time, the flipside of personal freedom is personal accountability and thus, “Kids” also explores the consequences, for adults, of suddenly being asked to pay the bill for a life lived consequence-free. The musical structure of the song is peppy and boppy and synthesizer-driven. So, “Kids” teaches a life lesson in a dance-friendly manner and, as such, its’ message is well-received by audiences. The video I am going to share is from a festival in 2014….which is only seven years ago. It is amazing to look at this video and see how we were all living our lives just a few short years ago. Also, I do not know why the lead singer, Andrew, has the set list taped to his back as he sings nor, why he is dressed like a janitor about to clean the stage when the band is finished. It just is the way it is.
So, even if you don’t know MGMT, watch the overwhelmingly positive reaction this song receives from the crowd and know that they are incredibly popular with today’s kids. MGMT are still together and are still producing new and innovative music. For them, their best work may still be yet to come. For now, let’s take a look back at one of their first big hits, “Kids” from their debut album, “Oracular Spectacular”. Ladies and gentlemen, here is MGMT. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Kids” by MGMT, can be found here.
The link to the official website for MGMT, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP for mining the most imaginative music to play for us each day. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.