Vampire Weekend- Modern Vampires of the City

Read about Indie Rock’s most household name below. Originally published on Pop ‘stache.

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Famed NYC indie-rock outfit Vampire Weekend often reflects on its simultaneous media presences—as beloved musicians and victims of typecasted scrutiny. Regarding its initial fame for 2008’s self-titled debut, frontman Ezra Koenig explains that Vampire Weekend got lumped into an Afrobeat Indie-Pop tag almost immediately, and the band has struggled with the notion of categorization in its production processes since.

Having found clarity in the three and a half years since Vampire Weekend’s second release, Contra, Koenig explained in an interview with CBS, “If you can just psych yourself up about your creative ambitions and not worry about the commercial or career ambitions, then you’ll be okay. You won’t disappoint yourself, probably.” The new release marks a shift in the band’s style, and Vampire Weekend’s candid publicity regardingModern Vampires of the City’s conclusive existence is as blunt with itself as its lyrical themes are with us.

“Diane Young,” a title play on dying young, was Modern Vampires of the City’s first and most appropriate single to convey the album’s theme. Koenig sings, “Irish and proud, baby, naturally/But you got the luck of a Kennedy/So grab the wheel, keep on holding it tight/’Til you’re tottering off into that goodnight.” Living fast in the moment because time truly flies is one of Koenig’s key lessons in Modern Vampires. He seems to have become overwhelmingly aware of this after returning home from Vampire Weekend’s most recent tour.

Themes of finality and interpretive religious undertones permeate through the lines, “I want to know, does it bother you?/The low click of a ticking clock/There’s a headstone right in front of you/God’s loves die young, are you ready to go?” Church organs provide backdrop to the intro of “Don’t Lie,” part of an emerging theme in an album screaming to be heard on a tape with two sides. Koenig is openly agnostic, but references God, fate, and death in almost every track.

In “Unbelievers,” he sings, “Girl, you and I will die unbelievers, bound to the tracks of the train.” Koenig’s youth on tour surely influenced this flaunting of his agnostic freedom. However, it also warns his senses and shapes his lyrical themes, which lean toward the imminently symbolic death of boyhood.

“Obvious Bicycle” opens Modern Vampires of the City on a thoughtful, slightly despondent note. Koenig sings vaguely about a speculative approach to trust, reputation, and the age-old advice for the ambitious: “Don’t wait.” The song hosts a gospel of harmonies and light piano underscores, a soft and cautious introduction to the energetic Vampire Weekend that’s scored the group three chart-topping albums and above-average indie-rock attention for the past six years.

Vampire Weekend’s members have noticeably grown into fuller, denser musicians since their post-grad emergence in 2008. Fan favorite “Ya Hey” embodies a captivating use of Vampire Weekend’s less urgent side, creating a song that sounds like something they might have been searching for this whole time. Productions still carry the signature quick-beat drums and energetic instrumental placements, though; to say that this band and Koenig’s voice will ever fully regenerate their cells is impossible to imagine.

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City tracklist:

  1. “Obvious Bicycle”
  2. “Unbelievers”
  3. “Step”
  4. “Diane Young”
  5. “Don’t Lie”
  6. “Hannah Hunt”
  7. “Everlasting Arms”
  8. “Finger Back”
  9. “Worship You”
  10. “Ya Hey”
  11. “Hudson”
  12. “Young Lion”
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