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Meaning of ‘Little Dark Age’ by ‘MGMT’

Dark Light

Released: 2018

“Little Dark Age” by MGMT is a track that cleverly mixes dark themes with an electronic beat that can almost deceive you into thinking it’s just another pop song. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find it’s a multifaceted critique of modern society, personal struggles, and the desire to escape or confront one’s own dark periods.

The song starts with a vivid picture: “Breathing in the dark, lying on its side“. This imagery suggests a sense of vulnerability and defeat. The “ruins of the day painted with a scar” suggests the lasting impact of trauma or hardship that each day brings. It’s like every time they try to get better (“the more I straighten out“), the harder it becomes to keep trying (“the less it wants to try“).

The chorus “Oh-oh, forgiving who you are, for what you stand to gain” speaks to the inner conflict of changing oneself for possible benefits, despite the consequences. “When you get out of bed, don’t end up stranded” carries a message about facing the world and not getting stuck in a place of fear or sorrow, metaphorically referred to as “my little dark age“.

As the song progresses, it seems to tackle the theme of denial and acceptance. The lyrics “The humor’s not the same, coming from denial” show how pretending problems don’t exist doesn’t make the pain any less real. The repeated lines about hiding not making problems go away reinforce the idea that facing issues head-on is critical for moving forward. “

The bridge “Giddy with delight, seeing what’s to come” might be ironic, contrasting the earlier dark themes. “Policemen swear to God, love seeping from their guns” is a powerful line that potentially critiques how authority claims to act out of love or necessity but often results in violence or harm. It suggests that the speaker, along with their friends, would rather flee than confront such a twisted representation of care.

Ultimately, “Little Dark Age” seems to grapple with the challenge of living in a world where one must constantly confront personal and societal darkness. MGMT doesn’t shy away from suggesting that while reality can be harsh and unforgiving, there might be a way out through acknowledging and facing these dark ages, rather than hiding from them. The repetitive call to “get out of bed” serves as a rallying cry to confront one’s fears and challenges head-on, rather than remaining passive in the face of adversity. Despite its seemingly upbeat tempo, “Little Dark Age” invites listeners to reflect on their own dark ages, pushing for self-awareness and action as the antidote to despair.

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