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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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A Folksy Departure | “Nothing to Declare” by MGMT

A Folksy Departure | “Nothing to Declare” by MGMT

“Nothing to Declare” marks the sixth track and third single from “Loss of Life,” the fifth studio album by Grammy-nominated duo MGMT. The song commences with a folk-like guitar arpeggio brushed with metallic synths, which creates an earnest, cinematic feeling. Though the single is driven by the acoustic guitar, some of the synth-pop influence starts to sprinkle in as the melody progresses. 

The lyrics are compelling, with both verses beginning with the titular lyric. The two choruses differ from one another, seamlessly carrying on the story while maintaining a sense of melodic consistency. The overarching theme seems to be the desire to explore a new life, leaving one’s current reality behind.

If I’m worlds away, I’m holding mountains in my hands /

Starlight ain’t never gonna let me down / 

Until I stumble like a drunkard back to town.” 

The single is accompanied by a stunning new music video, directed by Joey Frank and starring Inga Petry as the ingénue. Petry is a student at the University of Pittsburgh who uses her social media platform to spread awareness and advocate for the disabled community. In the video, she is seen traveling from Pittsburgh to Paris, exploring the scenery and attractions as a woman with a physical disability.

Overall, the song largely parts from MGMT’s typical psychedelia approach while still reminiscing their earlier sound. It marks a step in a new direction for MGMT, without entirely straying from the sonics and lyrical imagery they are so well known for. To me, “Nothing to Declare” is one of MGMT’s most sincere songs, and I am excited to follow them as they approach this new era. 

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