“Kids” is the third and final single from American rock band MGMT and their third and final single from the debut album “Orcular Spectular”, which was released in October 2007. MGMT was originally founded by Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, who were also the frontman for the group in their early days. The duo wrote “Kids”, with production also done by them and Dave Fridmann.
Many avid listeners of MGMT or even those who have merely heard of the band, are quick to recognise the introduction to the track, a collection of electronic beats intertwined with sounds of young children screaming and shouting. “Kids” is an ode to childhood and easier times, making references to lessons that individuals learn throughout life while growing up. In an interview with Time Out London, Andrew VanWyngarden spoke about MGMT’s motives and mentality while writing “Kids”: ““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.” In 2009, MGMT entered a legal dispute with the former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, as Sarkozy’s team had used the MGMT’s song without permission, and only offering the band payment of €1. MGMT released a public statement in response: “”We believe that access to music benefits both the musicians and the fans, and has undoubtedly helped spread our music around the globe, while also expanding our personal musical collections”, and that the reason they felt compelled to sue was because “the fact that the UMP used our song without permission while simultaneously pushing anti-piracy legislation seemed a little wack.” UMP eventually agreed on a $38,000 settlement fee, which MGMT donated to the Haiti Earthquake relief.
The music video for “Kids” was released on the 25th October 2009 on MGMT’s YouTube channel. Directed by Ray Tintori (who had previously directed other music videos for MGMT), the video opens up with a quote from Mark Twain: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you…”. However, this is actually a quote from Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”. The video consists of monster terrorizing a young child, while their mother is blissfully unaware of all the monsters the child sees around them. The video ends with an animated sequence of different worlds and dimensions. As of March 2020, the video has 121.3 million views and 767 thousand likes. On Spotify, the song has 348.5 million streams worldwide.
Release Date: 13th October 2008
Songwriter/s: Andrew VanWyngarden & Ben Goldwasser
Producer/s: Dave Fridmann & MGMT
Music Video Release Date: 25th October 2009
Music Video Director: Ray Tintori
Chart Rankings & Certifications: In its year of release, “Kids” did extremely well, charting at #21 in Australia, #43 in Austria, #19 and #32 on various charts in Belgium; #44 in Canada, #33 in Denmark, #27 in France, #48 in Germany, #9 in Ireland, #29 in New Zealand, #1 in Norway, #43 in Switzerland, #16 in the UK, and #91, #9 and #17 on various US Billboard charts. “Kids” is certified Gold in Italy, and Platinum in Australia, the UK and the US.
The lyrics to “Kids” can be viewed here: LINK