Congratulations (album)

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MGMT Congratulations.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 13, 2010 (2010-04-13)
MGMT chronology
Oracular Spectacular
Qu'est-ce que c'est la vie, chaton?
Singles from Congratulations
  1. "Flash Delirium"
    Released: March 23, 2010
  2. "Siberian Breaks"
    Released: April 17, 2010
  3. "It's Working"
    Released: June 26, 2010
  4. "Congratulations"
    Released: November 26, 2010
Alternate cover
Limited edition scratch-off cover
Limited edition scratch-off cover

Congratulations is the second studio album by the American rock band MGMT,[1] initially self-released through their website on March 20, 2010, prior to release on April 13 through Columbia Records.[2] The album marks a departure from the synthpop style that brought MGMT acclaim on their debut, Oracular Spectacular, released three years prior, and features a more psychedelic, progressive and guitar-driven sound.

Most of the songs were written by the band in early 2009. They eventually headed to a Malibu studio to work on Congratulations, with ex-Spacemen 3 producer Peter Kember, known professionally as Sonic Boom. Vocal contributions from Royal Trux singer Jennifer Herrema were also recorded for the album.[3] VanWyngarden has stated that the album is influenced by the band's massive rise in popularity since Oracular Spectacular's release. "It's us trying to deal with all the craziness that's been going on since our last album took off. Sometimes it just doesn't feel natural".[3]

Congratulations debuted at #4 on the UK Albums Chart and runner-up on the US Billboard 200 chart. The album sold over 66,000 copies in its first week of release in the United Kingdom, making it the best sales week ever for the band.[4] In the following 18 months, the album sold over 11,000 more copies in the UK.[5] The album was released on iTunes with an additional track for those who pre-ordered.


On January 12, 2010, Andrew Van Wyngarden declared that the album was finished in an interview on the Spin Magazine website, saying, "It's mixed and mastered, and now we're just working on presenting it to the world".[6] On January 18, MGMT stated that they would prefer not to release any singles from the album.[7]

In an interview with NME, Goldwasser explained, "We'd rather people hear the whole album as an album and see what tracks jump out rather than the ones that get played on the radio – if anything gets played on the radio!" He also said, "There definitely isn't a "Time to Pretend" or a "Kids" on the album. We've been talking about ways to make sure people hear the album as an album in order and not just figure out what are the best three tracks, download those and not listen to the rest of it".[7]


Despite their pledge to not release singles, the album's lead single, "Flash Delirium", was a free download on their website on March 9, 2010 before being generally released on March 23.[8]

"Siberian Breaks", the second single, was released on April 17. "It's Working" was released as the third single, on June 26. The album's title track was also released as the fourth and final single from the album on November 26.


The cover art was done by Anthony Ausgang, known for his kitschy lowbrow art style.[9] The artwork depicts a hedgehog-like animal on a surfboard, surfing on a wave that is anthropomorphized as a cat about to swallow the creature. Commenting on the composition of the artwork, Ausgang stated that he tried to "use bright colors and get across ideas that are slightly dark."[10]


On March 20, 2010, the band self-released the album for streaming on their official website, and stated that they "wanted to offer it as a free download but that didn't make sense to anyone but [them]".[11][better source needed]

Prior to its general release, a countdown appeared on the band's website alongside a short still of a beach on February 5. The clock would eventually count down to 12:00 AM (EST) on April 13, 2010, when the album was generally released by the band's record label, Columbia Records.[better source needed][12]

The bonus track "Inbetween the Liners" consists of an instrumental outtake of a song called "Forest Elf" from the Congratulations sessions, with producer Peter Kember reading the album's liner notes out loud while the track plays backwards.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[14]
The A.V. ClubA−[15]
Entertainment WeeklyB[16]
The Guardian3/5 stars[17]
Mojo5/5 stars[18]
MSN MusicC+[19]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[22]

Congratulations received generally positive reviews from music critics.[13][24] The album holds a score of 72 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic based on 39 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13] Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot called it an "impressive step up" from MGMT's debut Oracular Spectacular and wrote that the album sacrifices accessibility in favor of embracing "the duo's interests in waving the Barrett-era freak flag".[25] Gregory Heaney of AllMusic felt that Congratulations "matches, if not triumphs over, their earlier work", concluding that while the band's "more dynamic approach to songwriting" results in a lack of obvious single choices, it nonetheless makes for "an all around better album."[14] Celina Murphy of Hot Press felt that MGMT "have achieved what they set out to do and you have to admire them for risking their successful hides for a walk on the psychedelic side."[26] Spin's Charles Aaron wrote that "despite being haunted by the group’s flip from rock-star charade to reality, Congratulations still brims with mischievous energy. And for a series of druggy Dada setpieces, it feels uncommonly, emotionally honest.[23] In Mojo, writer Shelby Powell noted the group's homage to British rock musicians Dan Treacy of Television Personalities and Brian Eno, complete with faux accents in MGMT's delivery on a few songs; Eno, who is the subject of one of the songs, described the work as "very flattering", and added: "I appreciate the way they managed to make the song both fond and tongue in cheek at the same time".[27]

In a mixed assessment, Rolling Stone's Will Hermes adjudged Congratulations to be "a hazy, hit-and-miss album that will likely alienate some fans of the debut, but one that also testifies to MGMT's restlessness as songwriters and human beings."[22] Guardian critic Dave Simpson felt that much of Congratulations "isn't bad, just baffling", but that its eclectic nature "has produced a sonic adventure, with lovely moments", singling out the title track as proof that MGMT "haven't entirely forgotten how to write a killer tune."[17] Scott Plagenhoef of Pitchfork deemed Congratulations "audacious, ambitious, and a little fried", writing that several songs contain "a surplus of ideas when a few good ones would have done... the less cluttered and more focused their tracks are, the better they turn out."[21] Robert Christgau, in MSN Music, panned the album as "airy prog-psych self-indulgence" that elaborates on the less memorable portions of Oracular Spectacular, and that "even as self-indulgent elaborations go, the follow-up's a doozy."[19]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Andrew VanWyngarden; all music composed by VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser.

1."It's Working"4:06
2."Song for Dan Treacy"4:09
3."Someone's Missing"2:29
4."Flash Delirium"4:15
5."I Found a Whistle"3:40
6."Siberian Breaks"12:09
7."Brian Eno"4:31
8."Lady Dada's Nightmare"4:31
Total length:43:53



  • Andrew VanWyngarden – vocals, guitars, drums (3, 4-7, 9), bass (1-4, 6, 9), synths (2, 3, 6, 8), casio guitar (7), piano (2), fake flute (4), harmonica (6), electric sitar (3, 6), percussion
  • Ben Goldwasser – synths and samples (1, 3-9), organ (3-5, 7, 8), piano (4, 8), omnichord (1, 2, 5), numerology (6), additional vocals (2, 4, 7), percussion

Additional musicians[edit]

  • James Richardson – guitars (1, 2, 5-8), synths (2), casio guitar (7), synth drums (8), glockenspiel (2), saxophone (5), pan pipes (6), additional vocals (7), percussion, electric sitar (3)
  • Matt Asti – guitars (1, 4, 6), bass (4-7), piano (5), additional vocals (7), field recordings and treatments, percussion
  • Will Berman – drums (1, 2, 4), guitars (4, 6), bass (4), additional vocals, percussion
  • Peter Kember (Sonic Boom) – master of ceremonies, modular synth (2), effects[a] (6), gakken sx-150 (7)
  • Britta Phillips – additional vocals (1)
  • Jennifer Herrema – additional vocals (2, 4)
  • Gillian Rivers – strings (1, 5, 6, 8, 9)
  • Dave Kadden – oboe and sundries (6)


  • MGMT – production
  • Sonic Boom – production, harmonica and percussion treatments
  • Billy Bennett – engineering
  • Matt Boynton – additional engineering
  • Daniel Johnson – assistant engineering
  • Dave Fridmann – mixing, additional engineering
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Anthony Ausgang – cover painting


  1. ^ Jokingly referred to as the "first documented use of the EMT 250 reverb 'glitch'” in the album's liner notes.[32]


As of June 2013, Congratulations has sold over 219,000 copies in the United States.[33]

Charts (2010) Peak
Australian Albums Chart 9
Canadian Albums Chart[34] 4
Danish Albums Chart[35] 19
French Albums Chart[36] 7
Irish Albums Chart[37] 5
UK Albums Chart 4
US Billboard 200[38] 2
Scottish Albums Chart[39] 6


  1. ^ "Congratulations coming from MGMT". Triple J music news. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  2. ^ Goodman, William (8 February 2010). "EXCLUSIVE: MGMT Unveil New Album!". Retrieved 2010-02-16.
  3. ^ a b "MGMT take up surfing while recording second album". NME. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
  4. ^ "Justin Bieber, MGMT lead U.S. album chart". Reuters. April 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Fitzpatrick, Rob (27 October 2011). "When bands fall off cliffs". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  6. ^ Goodman, William (January 18, 2010). "Q&A: MGMT's Andrew Van Wyngarden".
  7. ^ a b "'We're not releasing any singles from our new album'". NME. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  8. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2010-03-09). "Wild New MGMT Song: "Flash Delirium" | News". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  9. ^ "Anthony Ausgang - MGMT". Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  10. ^ Dansby, Andrew (13 June 2010). "Anthony Ausgang's work for MGMT shows bond between art, music". Chron. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  11. ^ "MGMT | The Official MGMT Site". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  12. ^ "MGMT | The Official MGMT Site". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  13. ^ a b c "Reviews for Congratulations by MGMT". Metacritic. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  14. ^ a b Heaney, Gregory. "Congratulations – MGMT". AllMusic. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  15. ^ Phipps, Keith (April 13, 2010). "MGMT: Congratulations". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  16. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (April 7, 2010). "Congratulations". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  17. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (April 8, 2010). "MGMT: Congratulations". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  18. ^ "MGMT: Congratulations". Mojo (198): 96. May 2010.
  19. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (May 2010). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  20. ^ Miller, Alex (April 9, 2010). "Album Review: MGMT – 'Congratulations' (Columbia)". NME. Archived from the original on October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Plagenhoef, Scott (April 12, 2010). "MGMT: Congratulations". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  22. ^ a b Hermes, Will (April 12, 2010). "MGMT: Congratulations". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  23. ^ a b Aaron, Charles (March 22, 2010). "MGMT, 'Congratulations' (Columbia)". Spin. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  24. ^ "Congratulations by MGMT reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  25. ^ Kot, Greg (April 8, 2010). "Album review: MGMT, 'Congratulations'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 11, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  26. ^ Murphy, Celina (April 14, 2010). "Congratulations". Hot Press. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  27. ^ "The Best Thing I've Heard All Year: The stars pick their fave tracks of 2010". Mojo (206): 64. January 2011.
  28. ^ "Congratulations on Amazon". Amazon. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  29. ^ "iTunes Store". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  30. ^ "Congratulations +5 MGMT [CD]". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  31. ^ "MGMT Congratulations Back of Album". Image. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  32. ^ "MGMT". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  33. ^ "MGMT Announces Third Album Details". Billboard. June 25, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  34. ^ "CANOE - JAM! Music SoundScan Charts". 2012-01-05. Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  35. ^ Steffen Hung. "MGMT - Congratulations". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  36. ^ "Top Albums : Les Prêtres se hissent n°1". 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  37. ^ Published Friday, Apr 16 2010, 13:46 BST (2010-04-16). "Mumford & Sons album tops Irish chart - Music News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-01-10.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  38. ^ "Congratulations - MGMT". 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  39. ^ "Scottish Albums Top 40 - 14th January 2012". Official Charts. Archived from the original on 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2012-01-10.

External links[edit]