After I first sat down to start out pulling collectively my record of the highest 10 Vampire Weekend songs, I consulted a number of of my buddies to ask for his or her lists to ensure I wasn’t lacking something egregious on my ultimate draft. The tip outcome was a handful of individuals arguing for about 25 totally different tracks, which is kind of wonderful seeing because the indie pop band from New York Metropolis have solely launched a complete of 33 album songs and a handful of B-sides.
However Vampire Weekend are a type of teams which have an almost flawless again catalogue and a cadre of hardcore followers endlessly arguing over their particular person album and track rankings to no avail. Impeccably constant throughout their three releases spanning 2008-2013, there are not any proper solutions, not even a consensus greatest album for followers to rally behind, displaying how robust of songwriters and producers the previous quartet actually are. For a particular subset of the millennial era, myself included, they have been the band that outlined the height of the indie rock period, soundtracking our first relationships, faculty events, street journeys, and all the pieces in between. Hell, their most up-to-date album, Trendy Vampires of the Metropolis, a extra mature and barely darker departure from their peppy afro-pop influenced sound with lyrics about lastly rising up and discovering your home on this planet, got here out the day I graduated faculty.
It’s felt like an eternity since Trendy Vampires of the Metropolis dropped in Might 2013. Marked by limitless delays of their fourth album, Father of the Bride, multi-instrumentalist and manufacturing genius Rostam Batmanglij’s departure from the band, forays into solo work, pop songwriting, political advocacy, radio DJing, and TV manufacturing, the band lastly reemerged final week to announce their long-awaited new file. With two new songs launched yesterday, we thought it was time to provide you with our personal record of our favourite Vampire Weekend songs in celebration of their return.
A B-side to their debut single, “Mansard Roof,” from all the way in which again in 2007, “Girls in Cambridge” showcases the youthful vitality that’d go on to propel eventual album tracks like “A-Punk” and “Walcott.” Lacking the lower for his or her debut album in favor of the string-led “M79,” “Girls of Cambridge” depends on an upbeat guitar riff that possible tore the roof down after they have been taking part in faculty home events at Columbia College. That is Ezra & co. at their most enjoyable, mixing in a meandering violin line that’d later go on to be Rostam’s signature trademark, even slowing issues down in a considerably comparable approach to what The Isley Brothers did on “Shout.”
Bizarrely their highest charting single on the Billboard Different Songs chart, hitting #7 near a yr following the discharge of Trendy Vampires of the Metropolis, “Unbelievers” could be the catchiest track from their third album. Hitting laborious immediately following the gradual piano-led opener “Apparent Bicycle,” the monitor’s mid-tempo rhythm by no means lets up, finally giving approach to a horn part blowout earlier than the ultimate refrain. A pop track chock full of spiritual imagery, “Unbelievers” additionally options a few of Ezra’s most intelligent lyrics: “I do know I like you and you’re keen on the ocean / However what holy water accommodates just a little drop, little drop for me?”
Maybe Rostam’s defining second as a musical arranger and producer, “Diplomat’s Son” is a shape-shifting monitor with totally different musical concepts flowing collectively at a dizzying tempo. At one second an “M.I.A.” pattern, one other a Jamaican-influenced bouncy piano breakdown, and afterward a flittering violin on high of a glitchy digital synth earlier than transitioning right into a bongo-led outro, “Diplomat’s Son” is just not solely noteworthy for its stunning story of a homosexual romance, however for its sheer quantity of various musical types all packed in collectively in ingenious methods. Bold and sensible, that is possible the track that separates Vampire Weekend from its contemporaries, placing Rostam in unimaginable demand for his manufacturing work for the higher a part of the following decade.
Although Vampire Weekend successor Contra was far more understated than the band’s debut, we had no concept on November 17th, 2009 when lead single “Cousins” was unleashed. Launching out of the gate with Ezra’s frantic guitar earlier than Chris Tomson’s frenzied drums take over, “Cousins” felt like a turbocharged tackle “A-Punk,” full with the identical “ay ay ays.” With maybe their greatest music video to enrich the monitor, “Cousins” was an explosive approach to rocket into the second chapter of Vampire Weekend, even when Contra proved to be far more toned down from the joyful chaos of its lead single.
At its core, “Oxford Comma” is an indie pop track about grammar. Sounds boring proper? Exactly the alternative—“Oxford Comma,” a monitor that builds upon its predecessor, “Mansard Roof’s” bouncy summer-y keyboards, is a pleasing stroll by the most effective components of Vampire Weekend’s debut album—intelligent lyrics with wide-reaching references, spritely guitar solos, and sing-along-able choruses. That sound you heard once you first listened to the track in 2008 was the hundreds of children dashing to their computer systems to search out the guitar tabs for that solo.
It wasn’t their first single, however “A-Punk” is what began all of it for Vampire Weekend. With a now-iconic opening guitar riff and Ezra’s joyful yelps all through, there’s a purpose “A-Punk” is the band’s most well-known track even now, 11 years after its preliminary launch. Whether or not it was used within the intro to Step Brothers or all through The Inbetweeners, “A-Punk” was in every single place, immediately recognizable, and simply plain enjoyable. Few songs, if any, instantly transport you again to 2008 fairly like this.
On March 13th, 2013, Vampire Weekend made their long-awaited comeback forward of their third album, releasing their first new music since 2010 within the type of two singles—“Diane Younger” and “Step.” The previous was clearly the one which received extra of the share of press because it was the extra simple one—peppy and upbeat, chugging alongside at an unsustainable tempo.
But it surely was its companion that received out within the long-term; “Step,” a gorgeous track with grand manufacturing, slowly turned a fan favourite over time. Sampling Souls Of Mischief’s “Step to My Woman,” Ezra’s lyrics take us on a world tour, from Angkor Wat to New York to the Bay Space, referencing 4 totally different Northern California cities in a single go. Whereas the primary two verses are chock stuffed with pompous mental gibberish, all of it leads as much as Koenig’s greatest ever lyric: “Knowledge’s a present however you’d commerce it for youth / Age is an honor, but it surely’s nonetheless not the reality.”
There’s a purpose Vampire Weekend nonetheless shut virtually each set with “Walcott.” Tomson’s regular drumming and Rostam’s frenzied piano make this the band’s most danceable track, the best to sing together with alongside tens of hundreds of festival-goers in each route. “Walcott” can also be Vampire Weekend’s best crescendo, slowing issues down earlier than going up an octave and screaming the monitor’s closing vocal strains. As soon as Ezra’s final verse kicks in, it’s unimaginable to not shout alongside him, reserving it to get on the ultimate practice out of Cape Cod tonight.
Just like the aforementioned “Diplomat’s Son,” “I Assume Ur a Contra” is stuffed with Rostam’s manufacturing magic. Bursting with dazzling strings and distinctive guitar sounds all through, Contra’s closing monitor is a masterclass of how you can finish an album on an especially excessive word. Above swelling violins, Ezra affords up the most effective lyric of profession up up to now, summing up Contra as a complete to a tee: “You wished rock ‘n’ roll, full management / Nicely, I don’t know.” After years of critiques towards their afro-pop sound, that is their assertion track, albeit a comparatively muted one, displaying that they’re far more than the elitist “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” band. “I Assume Ur a Contra” is a goosebumps-inducing track right through, one which ends a pitch good album in essentially the most pitch good approach doable.
In a great world, “IF I CAN’T TRUST YOU THAN DAMNIT HANNAH!” can be the defining second of Vampire Weekend’s profession. The way in which Ezra surprises you with the octave-raised pleading cry in the direction of the tip of “Hannah Hunt,” simply after Tomson’s drums unexpectedly enter the fray is unparalleled, not solely all through the band’s again catalogue however all the indie rock style of the 2010s as a complete. It’s a type of moments, like when Frank Ocean hits that word on the finish of “Unhealthy Faith” or Julien Baker is available in with that first “BUT WHEN I TURN OUT THE LIGHTS.” It’s indescribable, a type of hair-raising moments in music that hits you want a ton of bricks irrespective of what number of instances you’ve heard it, knocking you in your ass the identical approach in your 100th pay attention because it did in your first.
The track itself, a narrative a few figurative street journey from the East to West Coast named after a really actual classmate of Ezra’s at Columbia, is magnificent from its seaside begin to its wiry closing word. Koenig is entrance and heart with little instrumentation behind him all through a lot of the monitor, takes us on the journey from Windfall to Phoenix by means of Waverly to Lincoln till we attain Santa Barbara, the place his companion cries on the seaside, an unpleasant finish to a gorgeous journey. All of it leads as much as the track’s ultimate crescendo, that second, earlier than dropping off in the direction of its preliminary tempo as soon as once more. It’s a meandering journey, however one which’s unforgettable.