How MGMT Changed Alt Radio
by Dan Weiss | September 20, 2013
We can talk all day about how synthesizers returned to rock in the 2000s, from the dance-punk revival of The Rapture and DFA Records (especially LCD Soundsystem) to "electroclash" from the likes of Fischerspooner to straight-up synth-pop from The Faint -- but the fact is, radio wasn't playing any of it until MGMT debuted in 2007 with hits like "Time to Pretend" and "Kids." Foster the People's demure disco cuts like "Helena Beat" followed, and now there's more synth-based pop on alternative radio than since Duran Duran's heyday. Mainstream alternative sounds like Youngblood Hawke's "We Come Running" are built with layers upon layers of voices and synths, all piling up to symphonic levels, while acts like Empire of the Sun flirt with Daft Punk sounds. The Naked and Famous, meanwhile, pull from some of the richest synthesized melodies in history; just take single "Hearts Like Ours," which slows down the classic "I Want Candy" tune to a pounding arena thud. Hear all these and more in the appended playlist.