Kids

Kids

MGMT

“Kids” is a song that teaches empathy and moderation. As the track begins, the cadence is meant to induce feelings of nostalgia, to bring the listener back to much simpler times as a kid – innocent.

As the melody progresses, so does the next stage of life. When one grows older, they begin to lose their innocence, deprioritize fun and conform to the mundane ways of society. The artists warn of the impending struggle that is adulthood, often having to decipher between good and bad and remind the listener to take in this world around them in moderation. As one grows older, they must try to maintain the happy-go-lucky attitude and love for the life they had as a kid.

The song is perfect for recognizing that the entirety of your youth is meant to be “the glory days” (especially in your collegiate years), remembering to live in the moment and creating fond memories you will reminisce about in the future whenever you hear the familiar melody.

In an interview with Time Out London, VanWyngarden describes the band’s mentality when writing the song:

“We were just happy-go-lucky, going crazy on campus. But at the same time, we were nostalgic for childhood and there was the threat of post-college life coming.”

The “threat of post-college life” is surely a reference to impending adulthood. Considering this, it makes a lot of sense that the protagonist of the official music video is a kid, taking in the world around him, and almost all of the adults are portrayed as threatening monsters.

In the end, it appears MGMT was inspired by this fear of growing up. Like Nietzsche and Twain (also referenced in the official music video) they express a cynicism for the adult world. Many of their songs from Oracular Spectacular are drenched with a nostalgia for the lost innocence of childhood that the adult world tends to steal away. “Kids” is a great example of all this. Sure, the song is upbeat, a bit random, and super catchy, but its meaning seems to be grounded in these universal emotions of fear and longing.

The song was the center of a legal dispute with the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, over the “insulting” compensation he offered for his illegal use of the song during a party conference (meanwhile, MGMT donated their entire legal settlement from the French government to the Haiti earthquake relief).