Breathing in the dark
Lying on its side
The ruins of the day
Painted with a scar
And the more I straighten out
The less it wants to try
The feelings start to rot
One wink at a time

Oh
Forgiving who you are
For what you stand to gain
Just know that if you hide
It doesn't go away
When you get out of bed
Don't end up stranded
Horrified with each stone
On the stage
My little dark age

Picking through the cards
Knowing what's nearby
The carvings on the face
Say they find it hard
And the engine's failed again
All limits of disguise
The humor's not the same
Coming from denial

Oh
I grieve in stereo
The stereo sounds strange
I know that if you hide
It doesn't go away
If you get out of bed
And find me standing all alone
Open-eyed
Burn the page
My little dark age

I grieve in stereo
The stereo sounds strange
You know that if it hides
It doesn't go away
If I get out of bed
You'll see me standing all alone
Horrified
On the stage
My little dark age

Giddy with delight
Seeing what's to come
The image of the dead
Dead ends in my mind

Policemen swear to god
Love's seeping from the guns
I know my friends and I
Would probably turn and run
If you get out of bed
Come find us heading for the bridge
Bring a stone
All the rage
My little dark age

I grieve in stereo
The stereo sounds strange
I know that if you hide
It doesn't go away
If you get out of bed
And find me standing all alone
Open-eyed
Burn the page
My little dark age

All alone
Open-eyed
Burn the page
My little dark age


Lyrics submitted by kate lee

Little Dark Age song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +3
    My InterpretationI feel that the song could be about depression and death. The lyrics are definitely dark, as Kathy noted, but I feel they are less a societal commentary and more a personal reflection of the writer. "The feelings start to rot" and other lines seem to reference this, and mentions of cards and "Seeing what's ahead" imply that either there is a more occult tone to the song (which I will go into) or the knowledge that his attempts to hide his depression are self-destructive, "Forgiving who you are, For what you stand to gain, Just know that if you hide, It doesn't go away."

    Now onto the video. Obviously, the Neo-80s aesthetic is carried on here with a similarly dark tone. Some things that stood out to me were the bat on the microphone stand, the black figure, and the flashing images of 'scary faces.' These could be a reference to vampires (a metaphor for feeling dead inside). The black figure may represent death or his illness, the smoke nodding to self-destructive behaviors done to temporarily feel better. The whip is also an important symbol in the video(which could represent BDSM) but we will have to wait for the release of the album to find out whether it's in the song itself or just the video.
    GearFaceon November 16, 2017   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe lyrics are meant to be looked at from any angle to fullfill the the listener's imagination, a concept embraced by the post-punk/neo-psychedelic music scene.

    My interpretation:
    He's desribing a battle scene of the war between humans (or himself) with dark forces (depression, despair, weakness.. Etc).

    The band uses Medieval/Gothic historical sympols in both the lyrics and the imagery of their video clip and clothing styles.

    First verse: "Breathing in the dark..."
    He's describing a post-battle scene in which he just won against a dark force. He's describing it with pride. (He's emotionally stable after a bad period in his life)

    "The feelings start to rot.." = The human team are getting defeated in one of the battles and he smells their (rotten) dark fealings, fear and grief (he's facing a breakdown)

    "I greive in stereo.." = He listens to musical celebrations of depression, as if his stereo just got looted, and music was his last resort to get back to the arena and treat the dark feelings (or the music he's now listening to is sounding more depressing)

    "Forgiving who you are" = don't get soacked in the shame and guilt of losing

    "Just know that of you hide it doesn't go away" = he tells his female lover that she can't deny his depression or weakness. She (the symbol of beauty, joy and peace) now faces a breakdown of her male lover (the musciline power: strength and security)

    "... With each stone my little dark age" don't get terrified when you see my castle broken into stones.

    I leave the rest of the lyrics for you imagination
    Ali AlAlion December 10, 2017   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLove this song, I can't stop listening to it! I'm still trying to take in what the lyrics could possibly mean but I feel that "Little Dark Age" could mean the times we're living in have been getting more and more dire considering current events.

    This jumped out especially to me:

    Policemen swear to god
    Love's seeping from the guns

    Probably tying in the rise of police brutality (though it's always been there, now it's just become more reported or obvious).

    I grieve in stereo
    The stereo sounds strange
    I know that if you hide
    It doesn't go away

    Might mean grieving while listening to news or current events, which seem to have nothing positive to say. You could 'hide' or just ignore all the depressing reports or current news, withdraw into yourself and remain oblivious, but it's not gonna make the morbid events go away nor make it better.

    Still trying to figure out the rest, but I feel that's the general idea.
    kate leeon October 20, 2017   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationMGMT is MGMT, so the lyrics are of course going to be weird. But, I am learning about the Dark Ages in my freshman World History class, and the song definitely matches up with what I am learning about now, which is really cool, since it’s good timing. Anyway, the Dark Ages are the time period where everything was going wrong and bad, the Black Death (bubonic plague) swept through and killed 25 million people, and all the things about the crusades, and starvation, and not having work, and Charlemagne... So this was obviously a Dark time in history, and Andrew VanWyngarden is relating it to his life right now, or he is just being random, because we’ve seen that before in his songs, but I like to think every weird song of his has a meaning, like this one.
    When I first saw the YouTube video of Little Dark Age, I didn’t like it. I thought, “Wow, why have they turned all goth on us? I liked them better before,” but once I realized what it was about, the whole gothic thing made sense. Gothic style was now being favored in the construction of new cathedrals, ecspecally in Norte Dame de Paris. Gothic is also BLACK, so that goes with the Dark Age.
    When he says, “I know my friends and I would probably run and hide”, he is saying he would be too scared in that time of depression, and Darkness, perhaps.
    Overall, it is a very good song that I perceive to relate to the historical “Dark Age” and Andrew’s own “Little” Dark Age in music. I have also noticed that MGMT likes to incorporate history, events, or other people into their “seemingly nonsense” songs, like many other artists do. So most listeners might not know about the historical Dark Age, and don’t know how to interpret the song. Okay. Happy Listening! Go MGMT!!!
    kyla107488on December 12, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWhy is MGMT brilliant lyrically? I think this song is about battling personal demons. My teenage son thinks it’s about getting a boner (his words). And I can understand how he could see it that way.
    Yzermaneelyon February 22, 2018   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningSublime foreboding lyrics about fear, guilt, worry with a little comment on today's headlines (guns, police, politics). These are the unpleasant fears and anxious concerns that you sort through in the dark when you lay awake in your bed at night.
    BlindAssassinon May 18, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI Think This Song Is Talking About One Of His Dark Secrets That Only His Friend Knows (I know my friends and I would probably turn and run
    If you get out of bed, come find us heading for the bridge) And Are Going To Committ Suicide Because They Cant Take It Anymore.
    muhammad hon June 22, 2022   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI’m convinced this song is one hundred percent about denial. Specifically the denial that the human race has for history repeating itself. And this song is packed with metaphor and references.

    The dark age signifying a deliberate state of denial.

    The narrator keeps referencing waking up out of bed which I take as waking up to what is really happening, eyes open wide, horrified at what is going on. I think the narrator has finally realized they have been in denial and is addressing the rest of us listeners to not be surprised when they “wake up” and see it too.

    Burn the page references a saying: if you can’t turn the page, burn the book. Meaning sometimes it is beyond saving just tear it all down and start anew. (Society, history, government, the human race..)

    The line about the stones on the stage reminds me of the The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. The people keep throwing stones and history keeps repeating itself and for what? Everyone needs to wake up! Shift paradigms. When they step out to the outside looking in and see what they have been doing, they’re horrified. They have been to blame all along . We’re all to blame, we’re all a part of it. We all play a role in the denial.

    All of the past events and signs point to the same outcomes but nothing changes because people are more comfortable living in a state of denial. Maybe the narrator is feeling that feeling of helplessness to it all which make him just want to give up. The song references suicide or possibly the death of the “dark age” so to speak. A new beginning? He is giddy knowing that it’s coming, people are beginning to wake up.

    The end about the police and his friends is a modern day reference to the denial going on in our society. He is speaking directly to us saying “hey my friends and I are awake! We see what’s happening” they are heading to the bridge with their stones. A duel metaphor for suicide by jumping off the bridge, sinking and drowning and also for taking that leap, letting go, waking up.

    Carvings on the face- wrinkles, old age, older generations being in denial (they say they find it hard to see what’s written on the wall even tho history always repeats itself ) their “engines failed again” that's the outcome of disguising the truth, you can never move forward.

    The feelings rot one wink at a time- a wink of “don’t worry everything is great! wink wink” but knowing it’s not

    Forgiving who you are and what you stand to gain- talking to society

    Doesn’t go away even if you hide- self explanatory, just because your eyes are closed to it doesn’t mean it’s not happening

    I grieve in stereo the stereo sounds strange - his thoughts and memories and beliefs have betrayed him and the things that were once comforting and familiar are now all wrong, strange, now that his eyes are open.

    Amazing lyrics, amazing song
    monster9406on October 21, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy two cents: The Dark Age was a period in history where much history and knowledge was destroyed. It was as if we were ashamed of who we were, where we came from, what we thought we knew.

    This little dark age referred to in the song is just the same, but personal to the individual. A little dark age, quite literally.

    The individual is seeking to forget the dark part of themselves, parts they would rather not reveal. They seem almost self destructive in this endeavor.

    This theme and idea seems to permeate the song - the idea that we all have little things within us that we would sooner forget. They horrify us, and it is a constant battle to try to hide, run, fight, forget and move on from our past.

    "Burn the page (forget what once was)
    My little dark age" (my regrets)

    "Horrified with each stone (turning over stones often refers to revealing information about something; horrified with each part of regrets revealed)
    On the stage (out in the open)
    My little dark age" (my regrets)

    With all that said, the song does appear to offer some respite, that these negative parts of our past are there to stay, and although it seems helpless and we would rather run an hide, there seems to be no other solution than to press forwards.

    "I know that if you hide
    It doesn't go away" (you can run from your regrets, but they never go away)

    "Forgiving who you are
    For what you stand to gain" (moving past your faults to try seize your potential)
    tyson11494on May 13, 2021   Link

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