Oracular Spectacular is the debut studio album by the American rock band MGMT, released digitally on October 2, 2007 by RED Ink Records and physically on January 22, 2008 by Columbia Records. The album, which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide, was nominated for best international album in the 2009 BRIT Awards. It features new versions of both "Kids" and "Time to Pretend", songs from the band's previous release Time to Pretend EP (2005), with the opening track serving as a "mission statement" and the theme continued through the album's subsequent tracks. Although Oracular Spectacular never sold more than 17,000 in a week, it has been a consistent seller since January 2008, selling at least 2,000 copies per week during April 2010. In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 494 on its updated list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Oracular Spectacular has received mostly positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 76 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Jason Lymangrover of AllMusic called Oracular Spectacular's tracks "some of the catchiest pop songs to come from NYC since the turn of the millennium" and stated that "the songs never feel insincere and the record is inherently strong throughout, making it a solid start to their career."Prefix Magazine described the album as "a college-dorm experiment gone horribly right." Giving the album a three-star honorable mention rating, Robert Christgau stated that "like Vampire Weekend, only as synth-dance rather than indie-rock, they convert a quality liberal education into thoughtful, anxious, faux-lite pop."
In a mixed review, PopMatters' Matt Fiander criticized the second half of the album, writing, "The second half of the record settles into a more monotone kind of space rock that is as big as the better first half, but gives us no recognizably distinct songs or catchy melodies." The album was named as the best album of 2008 by NME. In 2009, Rolling Stone named it the 18th-best album of the decade. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
"Knowing that the Almost Famous notion of stardom doesn't exist anymore (if it ever did), the duo of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser realize they're "fated to pretend". It's a charming idea — making a career out of fantasizing—and on Oracular Spectacular, they not only accept their playacting destiny, they demonstrate that, just maybe, it's a path more people should take." - Eric Harvey, Pitchfork Media
"This space-rock gem mocks the clichéd cocaine-and-hookers rock-star lifestyle, over big synth whooshes." - Kevin O'Donnell of Rolling Stone on the single "Time to Pretend".
"We redid a lot of our songs that sounded too polished... Dave (producer David Fridmann) ended up running the tracks through this thing that crushed them and made them sound really gross again. They're a lot better now." - Ben Goldwasser in Rolling Stone