Vampire Weekend


About Vampire Weekend

Why is Vampire Weekend on Rap Genius? Editor MoMilli tried to compile all the reasons (and all their rap references). And because Bun B approves…
https://twitter.com/BunBTrillOG/status/333751521290358786

As NME also pointed out, they have a lot of musical roots in rap! So Vampire Weekend lyrics are our original “white devil sophistry.” Why even try, though? From the band’s May 14, 2013 Reddit AMA for the Modern Vampires of the City album release?

From the Vampire Weekend promotional video Roll Call, a kind of band manifesto (they do a lot of rap!):

My name is Conrad van Dunn, Georgetown 2010, double major (cultural anthropology and modern Reaganomics). I joined Vampire Weekend as an intern in their tour accountancy department approximately six months ago. I went to high school—well, I went to the same high school—as Yeasayer and Animal Collective, but I feel that I got here in my own right. Solid SAT scores. Solid SAT II scores. This will be an invaluable experience for me. Whether I join a mid-market or a bulge bracket firm, I’m poised at the beginning of the pack. I’m able to use my success from this experience to go anywhere on Wall Street."

With the release of Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend has likened their first three albums to a trilogy. Lyricist Ezra Koenig told Jon Pareles of the New York Times as much in May 2013:

“It reminded me of Brideshead Revisited,” said Mr. Koenig, who writes the band’s lyrics. “The naïve joyous school days in the beginning. Then the expansion of the world, travel, seeing other places, learning a little bit more about how people live. And then the end is a little bit of growing up, starting to think more seriously about your life and your faith. If people could look at our three albums as a bildungsroman, I’d be O.K. with that.”

References to Waugh abound on these albums, from the early demo “Arrows” to the “contra mundum” positioning of Contra to the “thousand little Julias” on “White Sky” to the death knell intimations of MVOTC (which Koenig joked stands for “My Visions of Tom Cruise,” who like Koenig grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey). Flavorwire has compiled a map like our Rap Map of every location mentioned in Vampire Weekend songs.

The band got their name when frontman Ezra Koenig was about to be a sophomore in college. He wanted to make an East Coast version of The Lost Boys and entitled it Vampire Weekend. They originally considered calling themselves Weekend, but there was another band with that name. It was probably in reference to the Godard film Week-End, which is about dissolute youth revolutionaries in the 1968 tumult in France. They allude to the film both in the “Mansard Roof” and “Oxford Comma” videos.

The lyrical annotations that follow integrate the voluminous musical criticism of the band into the song interpretations. Peli Grietzer’s essay on reading Vampire Weekend lyrics is among the pretty rad. Grietzer is good to read here because he reminds us—Rap Genius-ly oversimplistically—that all explanations are valid, and some explanations more political than others. After encountering our mention of him on Rap Genius, Grietzer said RapGenius is “consolidating the once desultory liberal-arts-aspergers subculture.” Interpret THAT, kids! #derangedcapslock #based (NB The whole point of this exercise is to point out how fruitless it is to interpret lyrics and/or criticize this band, something Matthew Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces did IN A PIECE OF MUSIC CRITICISM criticizing the criticism of the band, also criticizing the band.)

So, anyway!

P.S. Want to learn how to be Vampire Weekend? For Mother’s Day 2013, Vampire Weekend moms told the New Yorker how to teach your children. This actually happened.

Vampire Weekend's Albums

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