Vampire Weekend’s newest album, Modern Vampires of the City was my album of the summer. Since fall is coming, I’d like to give the album a proper goodbye. School has started, and the whimsical sounds of “Unbelievers” and “Diane Young” won’t suffice when it comes to all the studying I have to do.
Modern of Vampires of the City definitely sets itself apart from the rest of Vampire Weekend’s work, but still remains classic Vampire Weekend. It has the academic feel the band is known for, yet the album doesn’t focus on it.
Vampire Weekend started when the members were all students at Columbia in New York and their first few albums have a more schoolboy feel. Modern Vampires of the City shows the band growing up in their knowledge. No more songs about Oxford commas–instead this album shows the band lifting their heads out of books and into the real world.
The first couple songs of this album are the perfect examples of the band straying from its original, very specific sound. “Obvious Bicycle,” with its flowing vocals and instrumentation, shows the band’s view of the world changing. With lyrics like, “You oughta spare the world your labor/It’s been 20 years and no one’s told the truth” the band’s worldview seems to expand right in front of you. These are no longer college students, but people who have experienced the world. “Unbelievers” is peppy like an old Vampire Weekend song, but the lyrics also show an expanded world view. My favorite lyrics are from the chorus, “I know I love you/And you love the sea/But what holy water contains a little drop, little drop for me.” “Step” is my favorite song on the album, purely for its sound. I love the baroque sounding chorus, and the flighty quality Ezra Koenig’s voice takes in it.
“Diane Young,” the single for the album, is the perfect song to dance to when you are home alone. There is some awesome air guitar potential in there, and I have definitely used that potential a lot. “Don’t Lie” ties in the middle of the album to the beginning. Every time I listen to it, I associate it with “Step.” They both have baroque qualities to them, and Vampire Weekend definitely works with those well. “Hannah Hunt” is another one of my favorite songs on the album. Ezra Koenig’s voice can take on many qualities, and the end of this song is a perfect example of how his smooth voice can become cracked almost like a teenager’s.
The last six songs do a really interesting job of bringing the album to a close. Instead of leaving with some intense showy songs, the album draws itself out like the transition between summer and fall. “Ya Hey” and “Everlasting Arms” hold on to the earlier parts of the album. The songs stay whimsical and free until “Hudson.” Koenig’s voice becomes lower in the song, and the instrumentation becomes much more melancholy, like a sweet syrup. “Young Lion” is the last song on the album, and it’s definitely a good one to close up the album. It brings the worldview of the album all together, and musically, is the perfect ending. It’s just sweet enough to the point where it leaves you happy, but also wanting more.
Maybe, when I’m missing the sunny days this winter, I’ll listen to this album. For now, it’s time to turn on Vampire Weekend’s other stuff. As I study, I’ll definitely be listening to “Oxford Comma.”