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Intro

MGMT might just be the unlikeliest pop sensation to explode on the music scene in recent years. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden were just a couple of buddies at a small New England liberal arts college, entertaining themselves in the dorm by making trippy music on their laptops. They put on some well-received shows on campus and even released an EP on a small indie label.

Graduation, though, looked likely to end the MGMT story, just as it had broken up so many other experimental college bands before them. Goldwasser and VanWyngarden moved apart and put MGMT on hiatus.

But then something weird happened. An exec with Columbia Records heard the EP and loved the band's sound, a postmodern mashup of psychedelic rock, infectious dance, and avant-garde experimentalism that sounds a bit like what you'd expect they might be playing in a disco on the moon. She signed the band to a major-label contract, launching MGMT on a dizzying path toward global stardom. Whoa. "Kids," an irresistible romp in upbeat psychedelic pop, was the first song MGMT ever made, way back during Goldwasser's and VanWyngarden's freshman year, and it remains one of their most popular today. Check it out…

About the Song

ArtistMGMT Musician(s)Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser
AlbumOracular Spectacular
Year2007
LabelColumbia Records
Writer(s)Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser
Producer(s)David Fridmann, MGMT
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Shmoop Connections

Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
Growing up is hard to do. Just ask Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, who describes kids as genuine and friendly but sees adults as a bunch of "phony" "bastards." Or Nick Adams in "The Killers," who decides he has to skip town after losing his innocence to a mob murder. The dilemma is even older than even the idea of the "teenager" itself: how can you hold onto the good parts of being a kid even while crossing the threshold into the more complicated world of being an adult?

It's no accident that MGMT were a couple of nineteen-year-old college freshmen when they wrote this song. So what was their solution for holding onto what they had been as kids, even as that identity started to fade, "like looking through a fogged mirror"? How about turning to a classic children's book for guidance? "Control yourself / Take only what you need from it": not a bad moral for this timeless story.

On the Charts

"Kids" peaked at #9 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

It reached #16 in the UK Top 40 and #9 on the Irish pop chart.

It was #5 on Australia's Triple J Hottest 100 countdown for 2008.

Finally, it peaked at #91 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
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