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3. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

December 30, 2008
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

There is an almost inordinate amount of controversy over Vampire Weekend, a band that deserves zero controversy whatsoever. My theory is that they embody the spirit of current “indie rock” so well that it hit a little too close to home when everybody realized they like them. I hate the word “indie.” It is useless and tells me nothing. And yet people seem to think “indie” is a genre of music, when really what they are referring to is more of a process. Recipe for success in the independent music industry: put two cool sounding words together for your band name, dress up in ways that no one else does (ironically, not too many other people in the industry, if any, wear polo shirts), record your album in your garage, throw in some stylistic eccentricities (yeah, they listened to a couple afro-pop records, but really it’s just cheap advertisement), and watch the cash roll in as you get discovered. I think the fact that Vampire Weekend did all of these things and succeeded with flying colors was what erked the hipsters – it’s so hip that it’s unhip. Then they got blasted for not being dangerous enough – “Innocu-rock” as Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy calls them. And yet VW frontman Ezra Koenig rocked out onstage with Fucked Up, one of the most dangerous bands in the business, during their now legendary twelve hour show at the Rogan Store in New York City. Through all this meticulous dissection and criticism, they seem to smile through it and have a great time. In their live shows, their easygoing nature is contagious. And yet the only reason they have garnered so much attention in the first place is because they made a chamber pop album that really works and that everyone seems to enjoy. The thing seems to be injected with morphine; whatever whatever pains or anxieties that might be lyrically present are glossed over by cheap, catchy melodies. And it may be a cheap, catchy melodicism, but it’s intelligent and consistent, without a bad song (yes, even the somewhat debated Blakes Got A New Face, which I, for one, love). I didn’t even know what a Mansard Roof was until I started working at a roofing company office over the Summer (where I listened to this album all the time), and I’ll bet most listeners initially scratched their heads at the punctuation jokes Oxford Comma. You don’t have to be Columbia educated to appreciate this one, though. It’s loaded with memorable Mothersbaugh-esque pop music made by people who probably weren’t planning on selling lots of records despite the fact that they did, and it makes all the controversy that much funnier. The truth is that the “indie culture” is afraid of these guys and finds them completely dangerous because they made a great pop album while being themselves.

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend

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