Song Stories

“Time to Pretend”

MGMT | 2008

Listening to MGMT’s breakthrough song, one might interpret it as being about the excesses of rock stardom, but it’s actually about the duo’s pet praying mantis. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden told Rolling Stone they got the idea from the insect's jerky movements. The mantis died, but the two bandmates kept the egg sack and allowed the hundreds of eggs to hatch. “We tried to name them all, but they died after a day,” said Goldwasser, with VanWyngarden chiming in, “But the praying mantis dance inspired us.”

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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