What does Time To Pretend mean?

MGMT: Time To Pretend Meaning

Album cover for Time To Pretend album cover

Time To Pretend Lyrics

I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.
Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.
I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars.
You man the island and the cocaine and the...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 2nd 2009 !⃝

    I really like what everyone's posted so far. Here's my 2 cents - When I listen to this song I don't get the sense that they're poking fun at falling into cultural norms as much as they are using irony to make a serious statement. As someone already said, the music has a cheerful, light-hearted, almost innocent sound to it. This is in direct contrast to the rather depressing lyrics which tell a story of young adults on a downward spiral seeking to avoid the monotony of everyday life while using methods that ultimately turn against them. Sure, drugs can produce temporary euphoria and yeah, models look pretty, and elegant cars are fun to drive (though I wouldn't know personally) but look at what we sacrifice when we persue these things to no end. I think its sad how many people fall victim to the glorification of drugs, physical "beauty" and the accumulation of material possessions. In my experience, these types of things don't bring true happiness, but mostly feed my ego and allow me to feel superior to the next guy. And after all, who doesn't enjoy feeling a little superior? But the truth is that no matter what drugs I do, no matter what my wife looks like, how many cars I own, or how much I try to PRETEND - I'm really no better than anyone else. I identify with this song because I've often felt trapped between two options - a)live fast, die young, choke on my own vommit. Or b)get a job in an office and wake up for the morning commute. Not always an easy desicion for some of us. I'm not going to claim that I know what anyone else ought to be doing with there life. However, I think that the message in the song is this... when making decisions in life, let's not forget what's most important to us.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 22nd 2010 !⃝

    Ladies and gentlemen, I'm actually not going to interpret this song (you've all done so already). Instead, let's briefly discuss the the meaning of life, for it seems that many of you are not fully appreciative of the beautiful gifts and opportunity life has to offer.

    Let us say that there is no "point" to life, that there is no "after life", no "soul" no "Lord"...who cares? Logically, why would you ever let those ideas effect the way you appreciate life? Imagine, instead, the most simplest of situations: you only have one life to live. Why not make the most of it? Why not try to discover your identity (your natural capabilities as defined by nature) and live up to them? Why not try to be in the best physical shape nature allows and, alternately, read and learn the most you can? Drugs- they will put a plateau on your possible attainable happiness. They will make you illogical and upset your natural brain chemistry. Even something like marijuana. It sucks away your motivation and skills of perseverance if used when trying to actively achieve a dream. How do I know? I am a former heavy drug user. Pshychadelics, opiates, stimulants, pharmacuticals, salvia, legal, illegal... you name it. They will make you lazy and cause you to blame everything in your formative years (like your childhood) for your unhappiness. You speak of society's standards? Then don't follow them, my friend! Build yourself a life that will make YOU happy: a trust- worthy companion, children that you may teach and nurture,and a job which you will enjoy.In terms of this "cubicle in the office, everyday commute" scenario: why not pick a job that you desire, that suits your natural physical and acquired mental disposition?

    People are much more capable and lazy than they imagine themselves to be. You can develop virtually any talent or skill you would like to. The problem is- and I find this especially in the UK and the US where people are much more well off on average- people start something but don't follow through with it. I am speaking from my own failures and disappointments, which is why I have been able to perceive this quite obviously in the lives of others. This problem- and I believe most perceived "depressions" in life are this way- traces back to the increasing lack of discipline in society, which people have come to picture as associated with the "military" or "child abuse". When implemented correctly, this is farther from the truth. Would it not be considered self-annihilation if you did not discipline yourself when eating candy out of bag of Halloween 2-for-1s from CVS? Discipline, logic, and optimism is key to living a good life. This comes from a former overweight heroin and cocaine junkie. Make the most of each moment in your life. It is never to late to start anew, to exit your cubicle and go back to college (or do so for the first time). For those of you in the EU or (especially) the US, we live in an era where loans are available for college and dreams can be achieved through proper pacing, realistic optimism, patience, and gratitude to life. I very much adhere to the "Full Catastrophe" tenets of Buddhism: nothing is "sad" on its own. It is only sad if you attach those emotions to it. For example, a loved one passing away just "is". It is sad only if you make it that away. You can also accept it as a natural part of life and dwell on the good highlights of the person's life. Similarly, nothing is "futile" unless you feel that way about it. But who dictates you to do so? Take control of your own destiny, my friends.



    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 25th 2009 !⃝

    I think so many people love the sound of this song, which would seem to be a good place to begin an interpretation. The high-pitched tones generate a cheerful sound, reminding the listener of the euphoric feelings of happiness and ignorant bliss. I believe the tonality of the song best explains why a strong contrast between adulthood and childhood exists - the difference is in the imagination.
    They begin by saying how they feel "Rough and wrong in time of my life" because growing up dumbs down ... The imagination. Since grown-ups live in a world of necessity & information and not illusions or fantasy where the mind roams free, they (6th) sense there is a problem with life itself. In picking up this unconscious provocation, they begin discovering all the ways their life is not what they desired of it- Only goals were reached, not actual dreams being awakened.
    Before the first chorus, MGMT relates to what appears to be the life of celebrities and young adults who try to imitate them (cocaine & elegant cars). A simplified description of the adults of Generation Y (the generation they can relate to most) serves to set up for the prediction of the dramatic death at the end. The sudden statement suggests that maybe its sometimes okay for someone to die young if they lived a great life early on and skipped that repetitious "early morning commute" altogether.
    The most beautiful people are those who at least recognize their lost youth, residing in all of us, somewhere where the longing for family and time spent alone as a child were enjoyable. The greatest detractor for grown-ups is the fact that our "Love must be forgotten" ... In the childish sense where only blind youthful love lives and worries / deadlines / fear have no residence in our thoughts.
    I believe MGMT thinks the imagination is a vital part to the human condition, and may be one of the most wonderful gifts/abilities we can have. However, children are influenced to regress from such childish understandings to acquire more mature activities. The teenager in between is trapped between two realms of choice and the grey area in between is where most young adults choose "to live fast and die young," trying to get "models for wives" - life in the fast lane. And all of this is done while looking for a freaking job!
    But then, all of a sudden, you choke on your vomit, "that will be the end." It becomes sort of an irony ... That you traded your imagination for a future of education, skills, and internal rules that would hopefully make you prosperous enough to have your own family, but it kills you instead because you couldn't handle the pressure of having to ignore how free & inspirational your imagination could be. So that no matter how you look at it, whether you live longer or die sooner, you were always Fated to Pretend.

  4. anonymous
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    May 18th 2017 !⃝

    Whoever has heard Nickleback's "Rockstar" may be able to figure out this meaning. This song is basically a darker/ sadder version of that song.

  5. anonymous
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    Nov 23rd 2013 !⃝

    I believe this song is talking about what we choose to do to make a living. The first verse starts telling us about what is thought to be the typical life of a rock band; taking drugs, models for wives, elegant cars, etc. The decision to live fast and die young, and have fun is overwhelming, but it beats a hum drum office job to commute to every morning. They have to pretend not to miss their family, even the everyday problems, spending quiet times alone, freedom, etc. so they can pursue their dream of fame and fortune. They cannot think about love, they have to start their new life. They will have model wives, and they will have children together. They will divorce and find some more models for wives. To me, this song is saying even though fame and fortune sound like they will bring true happiness, it really doesn't. So neither way the office job nor the rock star way of life guarantee you will be happy. Rock stars lives have ended in overdosing "We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end." They had to pretend until the end that they were happy. I believe the message is no matter which path we choose to take in life, make the best of it and don't let it destroy you and ruin your happiness. Never forget family or love, because they are the most important things you will ever have, and will bring about true happiness.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 30th 2013 !⃝

    MGMT is basically saying YOLO

  7. shereezel
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    Jul 19th 2012 !⃝

    The number one regret of the dying is this ... "I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me".
    I think this truth is the core of the song. We are all born into this world so full of imagination and potential, but we eventually have to fit in - somewhere - where a framework of expectation already exists. So we are trained to accept that framework and get our office job with our daily commute - and be happy with it - pretending that is a good life, or for those of us who resist - we can try to do something different. Yet, getting to the top of the creative ladder, with money and model wives and fame just leads to a predictable end of another framework anyway - thus - choosing to live fast and die young is just another sad predictability, just like the office job. In the end, looking back, all we really know is that our childhood - playgrounds, animals, and digging up worms - was the one true blissful state - all other choices seem to lead to this inevitable, awful treadmill of predictability. So we have to pretend, all of us must pretend that this is OK, and it runs it's course. We deny the deeper truth that life is very short and being here is a miracle. Instead - we waste it, pretending that our office job, or marrying models and doing lines all day is what we wanted all along. Its a beautiful ironic song, a wise song, by a young band - about how little we can change the structure of the existence we are thrust into. No matter what we achieve, we all lose the bliss of our true innocence and eventually must, one way or another, buy into all the pretense.

  8. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd 2012 !⃝

    SO as someone who Has moved to the city, shot some (a Lot) of heroin and fucked with "stars", also lacking kids, job and real responsibility, here goes... there are two choices in life: A) the above mentioned, and B) "the morning commute". A) WILL KILL YOU choking on vomit probably, like tomorrow. B) will kill your inner rebellious soul but youll choke on vomit at age 80 after a stroke. So what to do, what to do... choice A) is fine for now but you cant do it forever. in the end we all must stop f-ing around and pretend to be happy with the "morning commute". Even die hard "A"s are fated to pretend if you want to survive. Lifes a bitch then you die. So F around then go to rehab while u can so every couple months you can "go to paris".

  9. anonymous
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    Jun 27th 2012 !⃝

    It's about heroin' not just the verse that says "go to Paris and shoot heroin" the end "choke on our vomit" anyone who has done it or knows someone who does it knows that person is high as hell and just pretending to be normal......

  10. anonymous
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    Apr 30th 2012 !⃝

    I think it has to do with the idea that we were put into this world to believe that something greater exists beyond our own capable senses or comprehension. Most like to believe that there is an on going life after death but mgmt understands as there being an end. In which, we are in a dreamlike state in which we preceive yet sooner or later they will diminsh. A well written dreamer song.

  11. anonymous
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    Mar 19th 2012 !⃝

    i dont want to say anything that wasnt said before, but i have a question, do you believe or think that the sounds of the beginning are made by oceanic animals? Becouse thats what i think, and i never read anything about it

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 18th 2012 !⃝

    This songs about a man who died due to an overdosed and died and is talking to his faimly, odbiosuly on heroine he said "we'll choke on our vomit,and that will be the end" if that doesnt mean overdosing i dont know what does.

  13. anonymous
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    Oct 13th 2011 !⃝

    Jim Morrison. "Move to Paris shoot some heroine and fuck with the stars....models for wives."

  14. anonymous
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    Sep 30th 2011 !⃝

    This is what the song is really about "
    We wrote Time to Pretend our senior year of college, and the music was inspired by a praying mantis we had in our house. She laid eggs and it died, and we laid the egg case on this kinda model pirate ship on the mantle piece, and the eggs hatched and all these baby praying mantises were climbing up the rigging of the ship, and it was pretty crazy...uhm so the music was inspired by our praying mantis that liked to dance to the Clash {laugh} and the lyrics are just about us imagining being rock stars....and yeah, fantasy rock star life.

  15. shanwow3425
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    Jul 18th 2011 !⃝

    Its about growing up and going with the flow of life without any regrets.
    The part that goes:

    This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
    We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
    Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
    Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

    its saying how if u don't live life to the fullest and do what you want your gonna be miserable. no one wants to wake up in the morning to sit in an office building all day. its saying. don't let family hold you back from achieving your goals. you kind of need to escape that. let go of anything holding you back like forget about love. its holding you back. as hard as you try to forget things though sometimes you cant.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 18th 2011 !⃝

    Its about growing up and going with the flow of life without any regrets.
    The part that goes:

    This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
    We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
    Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
    Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

    its saying how if u don't live life to the fullest and do what you want your gonna be miserable. no one wants to wake up in the morning to sit in an office building all day. its saying. don't let family hold you back from achieving your goals. you kind of need to escape that. let go of anything holding you back like forget about love. its holding you back. as hard as you try to forget things though sometimes you cant.

  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 23rd 2010 !⃝

    I see this song as being about looking forward to a wild future. Traveling and partying carelessly, but then looking back on simpler, safer times when they were younger but realizing that such a lifestyle can't last long.

  18. brookess420
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    Apr 18th 2010 !⃝

    This song is about how when they trip they hallucinate and pretend it's real. That's why the synthesizers are so awesome because its an acid song. Trust me, they're big acid heads :P

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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