MGMT Share Video for New Song “Nothing to Declare” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024  

MGMT Share Video for New Song “Nothing to Declare”

Loss of Life Due Out February 23 via Mom + Pop

Jan 10, 2024 Photography by Jonah Freeman Bookmark and Share


MGMT (Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser) are releasing a new album, Loss of Life, on February 23 via Mom + Pop. Now they have shared its third single, “Nothing to Declare,” via a music video. Joey Frank directed the video, which stars Inga Petry, who was born with upper limb aplasia. It was filmed in Paris. Watch it below.

Frank had this to say about the video in a press release: “When I first saw Inga on TikTok, I imagined her as the star of a foreign film. A certain brand of 1990s European independent cinema typified by the Dardenne brothers always essentially follows a human navigating through life. Inga has been armless all her life, which lends a different kind of vulnerability to the simple narrative of a self possessed young woman traveling from Pittsburgh to Paris. In real life, Inga puts herself online in a very candid way on TikTok, but the ‘Nothing to Declare’ MGMT music video plays on the aesthetics of independent cinema to allow the audience a different sort of emotional fictive space with Inga as ingenue.”

Petry had this to say: “When I was first approached by Joey to do this project, it was the parallelism in his vision that first drew me in. We listened to ‘Nothing to Declare’ as he took me through the concept of the video and I was met with the juxtaposition of beauty and melancholy. Having grown up with no arms, I have been watched my whole life. In some respects, the Venus de Milo has always felt analogous to my life, and specifically to the character I portray in this film. She’s adored, respected, and almost constantly surrounded by people, and yet she stands alone and her past is unknown. There have always been questions surrounding her arms and she has never had to answer or prove her worth. From my perspective, she has nothing to declare. Playing this character that is different, and not just because she doesn’t have arms, but by the way she handles the difference and still feeds on new curiosity was a really beautiful experience.

“As an individual, the song and film resonated to me in another way as well. At the time of the initial filming I had just been diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. This changed my personal perception of the film and pulled me away from seeing it as a way to artistically see how my character exists with differences within her environment, and made it an experience of the individual. At this point in time, to me, ‘Nothing to Declare’ no longer meant that you don’t have to explain your circumstances, but instead it felt like a literal statement going through the customs of life. After this diagnosis, I couldn’t exist as the same person I was. I had to put a lot of my personal goals aside to focus on my health and recovery. In that respect, I had to end one chapter of my life and enter a new one. A chapter that doesn’t care about who I was before or what aspirations I was striving toward. Instead, one that focuses on removing all the cancer and only then will I be able to start living again. My wish is for people to watch the video and enjoy the art and mystery. I hope the vulnerability and curiosity that we captured is felt by the viewer.”

Follow Petry on Instagram here.

Previously MGMT shared the album’s first single, “Mother Nature,” via a music video. “Mother Nature” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Bubblegum Dog,” via a music video that pays homage to some of the classic 1990s alternative music videos. “Bubblegum Dog” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Loss of will be the band’s first new album in six years. It is the band’s fifth album and the follow-up to 2018’s Little Dark Age, which many viewed as a return to form and was released via Columbia (as were their previous albums). Little Dark Age’s title track became a viral hit during the pandemic and is the band’s third most streamed song of all-time, behind their early hits “Electric Feel” and “Kids.”

This time the duo worked with producer Patrick Wimberly (Beyoncé, Lil Yachty) and longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Spoon). As he’s done with all their previous albums, Fridmann mixed Loss of Life. There also additional production work done on the album by Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never), Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) and James Richardson. Miles A. Robinson was also an associate producer and engineer on the album.

Loss of Life includes the first ever feature appearance on an MGMT album when Christine and the Queens appear on the song “Dancing in Babylon.”

MGMT had this to say about Loss of Life: “All joking aside (never!), we are very proud of this album and the fact that it was a relatively painless birth after a lengthy gestation period, and are happy to be releasing this baby into the world with Mom+Pop. Musically speaking, we are running at around 20% adult contemporary and no more than this, please.”

Writer/director/The Best Show co-host Tom Scharpling has written an essay about Loss of Life and had this to say: “Simply put, the guys did it again! They’re now five-for-five, which last time I checked gets you into virtually any Hall of Fame. This record projects an aura of undeniable warmth throughout, an album brimming with comfortable confidence. There are epic tracks and intimate portraits, a little bit of glam here, some psych-folk there. It’s a slice of magic that fits perfectly into the MGMT oeuvre while expanding the boundaries once again.”

The album’s cover artwork is a 2006 painting by John Baldessari, Noses & Ears, Etc. (Part Two): Two (Flesh) Faces with (Blue) Ears and Noses, Two (Flesh) Hands, and Hobby Horse, 2006.

Read our 2018 interview with MGMT on Little Dark Age.

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