MGMT have shared the video for their new song “Nothing to Declare,” the latest single off the duo’s upcoming album Loss of Life.
The Joey Frank-directed visual stars Inga Petry, a college student born with upper limb aplasia who uses social media to spread awareness for the disabled community. In the video, Petry travels to Paris, documenting an adventure that culminates with her witnessing the Venus de Milo in person.
“When I was first approached by Joey to do this project, it was the parallelism in his vision that first drew me in. We listened to ‘Nothing To Declare’ as he took me through the concept of the video, and I was met with the juxtaposition of beauty and melancholy,” Petry said in a statement.
“Having grown up with no arms, I have been watched my whole life. In some respects, the Venus de Milo has always felt analogous to my life, and specifically to the character I portray in this film. She’s adored, respected, and almost constantly surrounded by people, and yet she stands alone, and her past is unknown. There have always been questions surrounding her arms, and she has never had to answer or prove her worth. From my perspective, she has nothing to declare. Playing this character that is different, and not just because she doesn’t have arms, but by the way she handles the difference and still feeds on new curiosity was a really beautiful experience.”
Petry added, “As an individual, the song and film resonated to me in another way as well. At the time of the initial filming, I had just been diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. This changed my personal perception of the film and pulled me away from seeing it as a way to artistically see how my character exists with differences within her environment, and made it an experience of the individual. At this point in time, to me, ‘Nothing To Declare’ no longer meant that you don’t have to explain your circumstances, but instead it felt like a literal statement going through the customs of life.”
“Nothing to Declare” marks the third single — following “Mother Nature” and “Bubblegum Dog” — off Loss of Life, due out February 23. In October, Rolling Stone spoke to the duo’s Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser about their first LP since 2018’s Little Dark Age.
“I think almost every album we’ve made as MGMT, we say the same thing where we’re like, ‘Let’s just be really simple and never have too many things going on.’ And then it always ends up that we pile stuff on,” VanWyngarden said. “I think this time we finally found this good zone of restraint where it felt like things were more balanced and more confident in a way.”
“For a long time, we’ve had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder about not being recognized as people who do things ourselves in the studio. I think that there’s been a little bit of us wanting people to know that we can do that stuff,” Goldwasser added.
“It felt like it wasn’t something we were fighting against on this record. The studio side of it just felt effortless. We know how to get the sounds that we want. That was a nice realization that we could get together, especially after spending some time apart, and just be like, ‘Yeah, we know what we’re doing.’ We have level of confidence that I think we maybe didn’t have before.”
The 10-song Loss of Life was co-produced by the band and Patrick Wimberly and mixed by longtime collaborator Dave Fridmann. The album’s “Dancing in Babylon” also boasts an appearance by Christine and the Queens, the first-ever feature on an MGMT LP.