The third single off the upcoming MGMT record, “Hand it Over,” is a quick follow up from their last release, “When You Die.” With musicality like a 50s doo-wop ballad, the neo-psychedelic electro-pop duo achieves a sound more similar to their 2007 release, Oracular Spectacular than to either of the other full-length releases to date.
With surfy harmonies and a simple, repetitive melody, “Hand it Over” lulls listeners into a trance, revealing a more tender space than either of the previous singles off forthcoming Little Dark Age.
MGMT has always created radio-worthy singles, but rather than straying too near the sun and creating a pop song, the duo remains true to what the psych-rock genre has metamorphosed into over the past 20 years. Bearing likeness in production to the album Innerspeaker or Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, with the help of Tame Impala and Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann and former Chairlift guitarist, Patrick Wimberly.
The lyrics are rhythmic and simple to match the almost-whispered melody. Echoing reverb swelled into a droning, harmonic refrain, where the whole track becomes filtered. Though there’s nothing specific to indicate meaning or another, fans speculate that “Hand it Over” could be in reference to MGMT’s rights to their music, or to their rights as human beings.
In reference to the band itself, VanWyngarden could be discussing the rights to their music, considering the end of their contract with Columbia Records, with whom the duo has notoriously had trouble with – the song could be a follow up to “Congratulations,” considering the lyrics “’the deals we made… // the rights that they abuse, // Might just fuck us over.”
It is also possible that the lyrics are broader, societal commentary like “The Youth,” or “Weekend Wars.” Often, VanWyngarden discusses human connection in the context of the world around him, and the same lyrics could validate a reading associating “the deals,” and “the rights,” with American politics.
Or, more simply, they could be referring to the concept of dissociating from other human beings, as we can so easily do with modern technology. Vanwyngarden sings, “If we lose our touch, it won’t mean much // if everyone’s confused; // which door do we open?”