Time To Pretend
by MGMT

Album: Oracular Spectacular (2007)
Charted: 35
  • This send-up of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle was originally the lead track on MGMT's 2005 debut release, an EP released by an Indie label, Cantora Records. A new version of this was recorded for the Oracular Spectacular album.
  • MGMT member Andrew VanWyngarden told Inside Bay Area that the keyboard melody on "Time to Pretend" was "inspired by the dance of our pet praying mantis Kuivila, who was named after our Experimental Music professor who advised us on our senior project."
  • Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann produced the album. In an interview with Crossfire, MGMT member Ben Goldwasser discussed working with Fridmann: "When we started writing we didn't know that he was going to produce us. I mean, we had randomly put him on this list of dream producers who we would like to work with and we ended up talking to him on the phone and we hit it off really well. We love his production work. I mean, we didn't want to work with him because we wanted to sound like the Flaming Lips, it was more that we felt like he understood us on a personal level and he really got out music. We were pretty sure after talking to him that he would make it the album we wanted it to be."
  • MGMT were formed in 2002, during Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden's freshman year as art students at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. After graduating and releasing the Time To Pretend EP on Cantora Records, the duo signed a four-album deal with Columbia Records in 2006. "Time To Pretend" and the accompanying album was their debut Columbia release.
  • When MGMT performed this on the Late Show with David Letterman, they were clad in full-length capes. VanWyngarden told the Manchester Evening News : "He didn't even come over afterwards and shake our hands. I think everyone was a little weirded out by it."
  • Digital Spy asked Andrew VanWyngarden if he was concerned that some people take the lyric "shoot some heroin and f--k with the stars" to be autobiographical. He replied: "I think that's cool. I think it's great that some people can listen to the song and get offended. Some will think it's serious and think we're actually druggies, while others will see the tongue-in-cheek element to it. That's all I can hope for as a lyricist - confusion!"
  • Goldwasser told The Independent November 21, 2008 that this satire of the rock-star aspiration, "refers to this fantasy, this joke of us being sell-out rock stars. It's not like we ever set out to have that lifestyle – we didn't really want that, but it's definitely different now we're playing big festival shows and touring all the time. Some of it is true. It's pretty weird. I don't think the fame is really the ultimate part of the fantasy. We wanted to get to the point where we could do really ridiculous things. We want to have some really crazy stage production."
  • The song was originally titled "The Mantis Sailing Home."
  • One of Abba's hit tunes was the unlikely inspiration for this track. "We wanted it to be the exact tempo of 'Dancing Queen' by Abba, which it is," Goldwasser explained to Song Exploder before adding that as a tribute to the Swedish pop group, MGMT ripped off the piano riff for the song's outro.
  • The song soundtracked the North American trailer in the 2017 movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The song plays out in two scenes; one where the titular superhero has a blast beating up some robbers robbers, and in another part of the film where Peter Parker (Spider Man) is chatting in the back of a limo with Tony Stark (alias Iron Man).
  • The video was directed by Ray Tintori, introducing the primitive composited look that became their visual signature.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 12

  • Sean from Lake Forest, IlI always thought of the song as a big metaphor. The beginning verse is them as teenagers with dreams of becoming rock stars. They would imagine all the luxuries they would get. The island itself is a metaphor for childhood. The island is their home. It was a simple life, but they had dreams of leaving the island and exploring the possibilities that may await them. They also explain their fear for a future of boredom, so they dream about becoming rock stars so they can experience life in a new, exciting way.
    The second verse would be them as adults becoming stars and realizing how much they will miss the life they had before on the island. They would miss the simplicity that it once provided them, but they knew they had to follow their dreams. It would be like they were on a boat departing from the island (their childhood) and they would look back at the island and remember all the good that it brought to them.
    I may be over analyzing this a little.
  • Matt from Mays Landing, NjI watched this video while i was stoned, and I saw some of the subliminal messages that they had put into the video. This song is all about doing drugs, and the phrase "TIme to Pretend" is talking about how they are going onto a LSD trip.
  • Brittany from ???????, Ohthis song is purely mocking the rockstar lifestyle. With such phrases as, "well choke on our vomit" and Lets make some music make some money find some midels for wives." The theme is hard to look past!!
  • Jon from Enumclaw , WaI freaking love this song!
  • Ekah from Sundsvall, SwedenHaha or... it could even be Bon scott, the singer of Ac/Dc who dide choking on vomit, or it's just that there's over 3 rockstars who have died that way that they chose it ^^
  • Ben from Ocean City, NjOr even John Bonham perhaps? Not sure who their big influences are, just a thought as he went the same way. R.I.P. both of them ;[
  • Braedan from Melbourne, Australia"We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end"
    could this be a reference to Jimi Hendrix death prehaps?
    any thoughts?
  • Julia from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOne of the song's first feature in TV was on the last episode of the show Skins. And it ROCKED.
  • Bill W from Wexford, IrelandHas the part "well mover to paris, shoot some heroin, and f**k with the stars" a reference to Jim Morrison perhaps????
  • Eric from Manhattan, NyThis song is about mocking the "live fast, die young" lifestyle. It shows how there are more important things in life like family, love and friends, not something like killing yourself and living life in the fast lane. That's why they end it with "we're fated to pretend". Pretending about the lifestyle almost like a kid pretends. Maybe that's why this band is neo-psychedelic. ACID
  • Jose from Guadalajara, MexicoThe song is heard during the opening credits of the movie 21.
  • Francia from Caracas, --This is such a great song!
see more comments

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.

Yoko OnoSongwriter Interviews

At 80 years old, Yoko has 10 #1 Dance hits. She discusses some of her songs and explains what inspired John Lennon's return to music in 1980.

Gene Simmons of KissSongwriter Interviews

The Kiss rocker covers a lot of ground in this interview, including why there are no Kiss collaborations, and why the Rock Hall has "become a sham."

Part of Their World: The Stories and Songs of 13 Disney PrincessesSong Writing

From "Some Day My Prince Will Come" to "Let It Go" - how Disney princess songs (and the women who sing them) have evolved.

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."