Time to Pretend

"Time to Pretend" is a song by the American indie band MGMT, released as the lead single from their debut studio album Oracular Spectacular (2007) on March 3, 2008. An earlier version had been released on their Time to Pretend EP. The single was released as a 7" and CD single featuring the B-sides "Weekend Wars" (BBC Radio 1 Session)[3] and "Metanoia", respectively.[4] In early 2009, the song was re-released in the UK. The song was ranked at number 493 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time",[5] and its parent album, Oracular Spectacular, was ranked at number 494 on the publication's additional list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[6] The song was also ranked at number 90 on NME's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Time to Pretend"
200px-MGMT Time To Pretend 7inch.jpg
Single by MGMT
from the album Oracular Spectacular
ReleasedMarch 3, 2008
GenrePsychedelic rock[1]
Songwriter(s)Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser
Producer(s)Dave Fridmann
MGMT singles chronology
"Weekend Wars"
"Time to Pretend"
"Electric Feel"
Audio sample
Music video
"Time to Pretend" on YouTube


The track was originally recorded for the Time to Pretend EP (2005). It was re-recorded for the Oracular Spectacular album.

From a quote from live at Abbey Road:

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.

Music videoEdit

The music video for the song contains references to Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 film The Holy Mountain[7] and the 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. The video was directed by Ray Tintori. Tiscali Music gave the video a rating of 10 out of 10[8][9] A 3D version of the video with minor changes to the original was also produced.

Track listingEdit

7" Single
1."Time to Pretend"4:19
2."Weekend Wars" (BBC Radio 1 session)4:34
2 Track Promo
1."Time to Pretend"4:19
2."Time to Pretend" (Clean)4:20
Radio Edit Promo
1."Time to Pretend" (Radio edit)4:11
2009 Digital Download
1."Time to Pretend"4:21
2."Future Reflections" (Triple J live recording)4:10


"Time to Pretend is a space-rock gem that mocks the clichéd coke-and-hookers rock-star lifestyle, over big synth whooshes." – Kevin O'Donnell, Rolling Stone[10]

The song hit #38 on the Mediabase Alternative chart.[11] Time critic Josh Tyrangiel named Time to Pretend the #8 song of 2008.[12] The song was #3 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008,[13] #4 on NME's Best Singles of 2008,[14] The song was ranked at number 493 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[5] NME ranked "Time to Pretend" as the 2nd best song of the 2000s. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 12 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[15]


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2008) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 62[16]
Canadian Hot 100[17] 64
Irish Singles Chart[18] 33
Japanese Singles Chart[19] 75
UK Singles Chart[20] 35
US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[21] 9
US Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks[22] 23
Billboard European Hot 100 Singles[23] 99

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2008) Position
UK Singles Chart[24] 145
Chart (2009) Position
UK Singles Chart[25] 193

Television performancesEdit

MGMT performed the song "Time to Pretend" in a 3.5 minute slot on Late Show with David Letterman on January 8, 2008, ending the performance with a nod to The Doors' "Light My Fire". The song subsequently hit #19 on the Mediabase U.S. Alternative chart.[26] They later performed the song on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on May 15, 2008. The band returned to Letterman for a 4-minute slot on May 11, 2010.

In popular cultureEdit


"Time to Pretend" has featured in a number of TV shows, including HBO's show Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7, episode 2, which originally aired on April 18, 2009, the Season 1 finale of Gossip Girl on May 19, 2008, and featured prominently at the end of the second series finale of popular UK channel E4's Skins but was later omitted from the DVD release of the series due to issues acquiring the rights. It was also featured in the series premiere of 90210 on September 2, 2008 and in the pilot episode of HBO's Girls and the pilot episode of The Magicians. It has also appeared in ITV's live coverage of Champions League football. "Time to Pretend" was also used on the Argentine TV show Exitosos Pells, showing bloopers from the series. The song was also used in The Revolution Will Be Televised series.


"Time to Pretend" has been used in the 2008 films (or in the trailers for) Sex Drive, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People and 21, an early trailer for the Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland, the 2011 film Warrior and the official trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming.[27] The song (in a "Super Clean Version" that censors the profanity and drug references) was also featured on the soundtrack of the 2008 film 21


The song was the theme music for Manchester-based UK radio station Key 103/Piccadilly Magic 1152's new football show Total Football covering Manchester United and Manchester City games. It was also included in one of HMV's holiday commercials. The song was also used for the Polish TV commercial for the Ferrero SpA Duplo chocolate bar aired from December 2009.

Video gamesEdit



  • The Welsh drum and bass artist High Contrast produced a drum and bass remix of "Time to Pretend". This remix was featured on Radio 1 during the Sub Focus Essential Mix of 25 April 2009.


  1. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/apr/08/mgmt-congratulations-oracular-spectacular
  2. ^ Keaveny, Shaun. "Record of the Week". BBC Radio. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  3. ^ "MGMT Time To Pretend UK 7" RECORD (428836)". eil.com. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  4. ^ "MGMT Ready UK Debut Single Time To Pretend". Angry Ape. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "'Rolling Stone' Updates '500 Greatest Songs' List". CBS 2 Chicago. May 28, 2010. Archived from the original on June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  6. ^ "My Favorite Things, Part II". Rolling Stone. May 31, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Morrison, Kyle (May 14, 2008). "MGMT". DEJOUR Magazine. Cultural Commentary. Brash Publisher Network. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  8. ^ "Time to Pretend: video review". Tiscali Music. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  9. ^ "Time To Pretend video". Vevo. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  10. ^ O'Donnell, Kevin. "Artist to Watch: MGMT". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
  11. ^ "US Alternative Radio Airplay Monitor". Mediabase. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  12. ^ Time, December 22, 2008, pp. 47–8.
  13. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2007". Rolling Stone. December 25, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2008.
  14. ^ "NME's Track Of The Year 2008". NME. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  15. ^ "150 best tracks of the past 15 years". NME. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  16. ^ "Pandora Archive" (PDF). Pandora.nla.gov.au. August 23, 2006. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  17. ^ Billboard Artist Chart History – MGMT (Canada)
  18. ^ "Irish Charts Week 30". Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  19. ^ "Billboard Artist Chart History – MGMT (Japan)". billboard.com.
  20. ^ "UK Singles Chart". The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2008.
  21. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 21, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2008.
  22. ^ "Hot Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2008.
  23. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart 2008" (PDF). UKChartsPlus.co.uk. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  25. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2009" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  26. ^ "US Alternative Radio Airplay Monitor". Mediabase. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  27. ^ Bradley, Bill (March 28, 2017). "Does The New 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Trailer Give Too Much Away?". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  28. ^ "2K Beats: NHL 2K10". 2K Sports. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  29. ^ "Patience Hodgson and Broderick Smith". SBS.com.au.

External linksEdit