Brian Eno
by MGMT

Album: Congratulations (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This ode to legendary producer Brian Eno is one of several tracks recorded in MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarden's Brooklyn apartment. He told Spin Magazine: "It started with just us messing around; we never took it seriously as a song. Then on the second day we had the home studio working. At 1:30 A.M. we did a live take and that's what ended up being the foundation for the song. With the home studio we're going to get better and better at recording, and our goal is to eventually record other bands. I don't want to toot our own horns, but I don't think people think of us as producers."
  • Brian Eno is well known for using a set of Oblique Strategies cards that contain cryptic "instructions" to help with the recording of the albums he produces. In this song Eno is being chased by VanWyngarden, using his cards. VanWyngarden explained to Spinner UK: "It's a master/apprentice story. Brian Eno is more of a sorcerer and I'm the student. Eventually, he turns on the student. As for his Oblique Strategies cards, we did have a deck in the studio but I don't know if we used them correctly. I'm not sure there is a correct way to use them, actually! We eventually started writing our own to use in notebooks, but I think they're pretty horrible."
  • VanWyngarden told The Sun April 9, 2010 about the song: "That came from wanting to have a song called Brian Eno as the variety, light-hearted track on the album. It wasn't to knock him as we also love so much of the stuff he's done. It's just our humor."
    His MGMT colleague Ben Goldwasser added: "It's more a reaction to him being seen as this person who can do no wrong, but hang on, what about the last U2 and Coldplay albums he produced. It's saying that no one should be taken that seriously. I don't care who he is if he's Brian Eno or the president."
  • Co-producer Sonic Boom told Mojo May 2010 he thought this track was inspired by the MGMT duo being turned down by the English producer. He said: "They apparently asked Eno to do some track with them a while back. He was too busy, or said he'd never heard of them. Then Coldplay heard the song. I'm not sure if they played it to him, or told him about it. Last I heard, he was all interested in working with them suddenly. Thinking about it, I suspect he hasn't actually heard it, but I hope he has a sense of humor."
  • Eno told Mojo magazine he "really liked" this song. He explained: "Of course it's very flattering, but they're very clever lyrics as well. It could have been a bit uncomfortable, but in the end the whole thing was so over the top that it was clearly a joke. And I appreciated the way they managed to make the song both fond and tongue in cheek at the same time."

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