There’s no doubt that MGMT have always been a little weird. ‘Me and Michael’, however, takes the American band to new heights of strange. Taken from the recently released LP Little Dark Age, the song itself is pretty tame – the video is where it gets bizarre. The band decides to steal a song they find online, in a pretty weird alternate universe where mobile phones appear to be made of meat. It just gets stranger and more grotesque from there.
Little Dark Age has been widely regarded as a triumphant return to form for MGMT. After a hugely acclaimed debut album, the duo made two experimental albums that flopped pretty spectacularly. This album sees the pop/rock vibes that made them so popular return, albeit sometimes in a more abstract way. ‘Me and Michael’ is one of the more straightforward songs on the record, and it somehow makes sense that its video is the complete opposite. From faceless talk-show hosts resembling death, to an old man slapping pieces of meat together, it’s just one absurdist thing after another. Somehow, it still tells a pretty compelling story about the ‘stolen’ song and their rise and fall from grace. The sporadic 90s gif use is also a nice touch.
Unsurprisingly, the video also had a complex PR move around it. The YouTube video discovered by MGMT in the video is a real video, recorded by a real band. Filipino band Truefaith was approached by MGMT to record and release a Filipino version of ‘Me and Michael’ a week before the release of the real song. New York filmmakers Joey Frank and Randy Lee Maitland directed both videos; Truefaith’s video is decidedly less absurd (although the meat phones remain). According to a Facebook post by Truefaith, MGMT’s aim was to blur the line between fact and fiction. It’s a pretty clever idea really, and it shows that even though the music may have shifted back towards the mainstream, MGMT will always be a little bit weird.