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Thread: Ezra Koenig/Vampire Weekend

  1. #1
    WE'RE ALL GOING HOME HERO's Avatar
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    Default Ezra Koenig/Vampire Weekend

    Ezra Koenig:

    Some Fp [Feeling (ethical) and perceiving (irrational)] type. Perhaps IEE or IEI.

    Here are the pictures:

    http://prettymuchamazing.com/wp-cont...zra-Koenig.jpg

    http://www.mtv.com/shared/promoimage...le/281x211.jpg

    http://lh6.ggpht.com/_JtaDLkDHyWY/SA...A/IMG_1179.JPG

    http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/l...ends/purty.png

    http://www.mtv.com/shared/promoimage...lt/281x211.jpg

    http://according2g.com/wp-content/up...enig-and-G.jpg


    Here's what Robert Christgau had to say:

    http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_a...ampire+Weekend

    Vampire Weekend [XL, 2008]
    Young twentysomethings who write about what they know--college. Liberal arts majors broad-minded enough to worry that "ion displacement won't work in the basement," they took their Columbia studies seriously, which is my idea of how to exploit privilege (though how much privilege is less self-evident than Ivy-hatas assume). Hence all the flags about appropriated exotica, class distinctions and cultural capital--and the not unrelated correct accents, designer brands and vacation retreats. Their chief thematic concern is whether there's life after graduation, and rather than Afropop, from which they misprise a guitar sound but nothing of the groove it was conceived to serve, their music, as with most fresh recent bands good and bad, is quite Euro. Affecting a clarity and delight that pleases the many and confounds the some, their lyrically alluring, structurally hop-skip-and-jumping songs aren't deep. They're just thoughtful fun. And now let me give it up to an I Love Music post by Pitchfork's Scott Plagenhoef: "off-kilter, upbeat guitar pop, with--in comparison to their peers--something singular about both their music (e.g. not just the touches of African pop but the willingness to use space and let the songs breathe a bit) and their lyrics (detail-heavy, expressive; too bad they're images of wealth instead of poverty, otherwise they'd be critical manna)." Right on, my brother. A-

    Contra [XL, 2010]
    They're sticking their SATs in yo face, dumb-ass, and as Tom Petty once put it, they won't back down. Whatever the extent of their world travels geographical and virtual on this album, the actual money remains with people they only know, particularly the putative ex-girlfriend to whom Ezra Koenig addresses half his new songs. One exception is the guy who inspired "Giving Up the Gun"--still plays guitar down at that ex-skinhead bar, but his ears are shot to hell and he feels obsolete. Vampire Weekend give him respect, but "Contra" establishes that his band has chosen another path, celebrating the world's contradictions, contraindications, and contradistinctions with a new pop sound made up of old pop sounds that aren't the same old pop sounds. As for that controversy you may have read about, they spell too well to care. A


    http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/bn/2010-02.php

    "Frontman, wordsmith, cutie-pie, and scholarship boy Ezra Koenig is the son of a set designer and an academic. This is all still privilege. But it's no closer to ruling-class power than it is to the affluence of the average American geekboy who gets to insult music he resents online."

    "These were boys you could take home to mother, and they went to a good school too. Not that this will turn them into the indie-pop Kanye West, whose sweaters have proved prophetic--neither their talent nor their ambition is that phenomenal. But it separates them big-time from Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, and the like."

    'Vampire Weekend are different.

    The reason is syncretism. As it happens, the kind of cross-cultural reappropriation that's kicked up so much nonsense around Vampire Weekend is also the process by which, for example, captive Arab girls juiced the harem music of dynastic Egypt, or classically trained Creole sight readers spread jazz, or four Liverpool speed freaks beat Chuck Berry, rockabilly, Tin Pan Alley, and skiffle into a noise rude enough for the Reeperbahn. Historically, syncretism has been the main way pop musics have evolved. I began by dismissing the idea that Vampire Weekend are African, and they're not. But definitely they've grafted tiny elements from all over the place, Africa included, onto a guitar-keyboards-bass-drums pop band. Instead of looking back, they looked around. Their music feels outgoing because that's literally what it is. As Jon Pareles put it in his United Palace rave, they're "relentlessly catchy," recombining borrowed elements "with melodies that hop around wildly but still register as pop (until you try to sing along).'

    "He's a little shy, a little sly, sweet and changeable and impulsive, someone who's figured out he's cute without stifling his inner nerd. He's funny sometimes. He's got brains."

    "Holding apparent incommensurabilities in your mind-body continuum is a spiritual discipline available to anyone capable of both compassion and pleasure. Prefer T-shirts to Ralph Lauren? Well, you can still buy from sweatshops, and don't be so sure abjuring imports is the path of unalloyed righteousness--the Akron and Beatles Ts whose labels I just checked were both made in Haiti. But for most Americans it seems easier, and more natural, to turn off compassion or pleasure in turn. If there's a balancing process, for most it starts in the mind, and Vampire Weekend's rather good minds set them to sorting out ever more complex incommensurabilities. Keeping the mood playful rather than succumbing to racial embarrassment or fetishizing serotonin malfunction, both familiar indie disorders, Koenig throws up cultural contradictions and leaves it to his listeners to sort them out--or not. Many high squealers let them wash over. Many shallow thinkers take them the wrong way. How Koenig adjusts to these inevitabilities we'll have to wait and see.

    And one more thing. There is no music anywhere better at this trick than Afropop, and often without apparent cogitation. One of the blithest-sounding records I know is Electric Highlife: Sessions From the Bokoor Studios, in which a bunch of obscure Ghanaians, working in an early-'80s period of rampant inflation, sing soulfully but ebulliently about their poverty, their enemies, their faith in God. Their bravery is something to marvel at even if you worry that it's really escapism. There's no way any American pop band could equal it. But try to emulate it? Really, why the hell not?

    Barnes & Noble Review, Feb. 8, 2010"


    Here are the songs:









    Last edited by HERO; 04-08-2014 at 10:43 AM.

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    Default

    or perhaps alpha SEI

  3. #3
    WE'RE ALL GOING HOME HERO's Avatar
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    Ezra Koenig: IEI-Fe (Creative subtype) [IEI-ILE?]; or Ne-dominant (IEE? or ILE?)




    “I had a feeling once that you and I could tell each other everything/For two months / But even without hope / With truth on our side / When you turn away from me, it's not right . . . . You wanted good schools and friends with pools / You're not a Contra / You wanted Rock'n'Roll / Complete control / Well, I don't know / Never pick sides / Never choose between two / But I just wanted you / I just wanted you . . . .”

    http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/v...uide-to-contra

    I Think Ur A Contra

    It’s the first song that I’ve sang entirely in falsetto and the vocal feels more exposed because of that. It’s a conversation between two people and the way they’re using the word ‘contra’ is to say, “You’re the opposite of me.”

    Say you break up with your girlfriend and suddenly you feel like they’re a totally different person to you, but obviously that’s not the whole story because at one point you felt very tender towards them.
    We have so many signals in our life telling us to make decisions between two things, but usually it’s not as simple as that. Some people would say a choice between two things is no choice at all.

    We thought of calling the album 'Contra' before this song was even written – to me it makes perfect sense as the title of this album because in some way every song has something to say about being forced into a dichotomy, that every choice is always either A or B.

    You can apply it to politics, culture, religion or personal relationships. We’re fighting against the dumbing down of choice.


    - Bruce Springsteen cover:




    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptQ8nb-PhuI

    http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/v...uide-to-contra

    Run

    Ezra Koenig: “If you can hear some Springsteen on this song, that’s cool because I’m a huge Springsteen fan. My Dad has all his records and also growing up in New Jersey you had to be aware of him. He’s the master of writing songs about running away. 'Born To Run' is a very positive song but this song deals with the fact that you could also be running away because you’re trying to ignore your problems.”





    “ . . . . Your girl was in Berkeley with her Communist reader / Mine was entombed within boom box and walkman / I was a hoarder, but girl that was back then . . . . Ancestors told me that their girl was better / She's richer than Croesus, she's tougher than leather / I just ignore all the tales of her past life / Stale conversation deserves but a bread knife / And punks who would laugh when they saw us together / Well, they didn't know how to dress for the weather / I can still see them there huddled on Astor / Snow falling slow to the sound of the master . . . .”

    http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107859452712/

    - foostack: ‘I think it has something to do with him feeling sad about maturing and losing a sense of curiosity.
    his "girl" is his past and experiences which he holds close to himself. It does reference that Souls of Mischief song in the fact that he doesn't want to lose who he is even though it’s slipping away.
    the first verse refers to the carefree past being engaged and curious in stuff. The second Is about the life he could have had if he chose a different path. The third states that he’s come to a point where he’s grown past those stages (or steps of his life)
    The chorus I think is him wanting to die (go to the house) because he feels past his youth (feel it in my bones) because he can’t go on alone living monotone and without curiosity.

    I don't really know anything this is just my interpretation.’



    ‘Oh, sweet thing/Zion doesn't love you / Babylon don't love you / But you love everything / Oh, you saint/America don't love you / So I could never love you / In spite of everything / In the dark of this place / There's the glow of your face / There's the dust on the screen/Of this broken machine / And I can't help but feel that I've made some mistake / But I let it go / Ya Hey / Through the fire and through the flames / You won't even say your name / Only "I am that I am" / But who could ever live that way? . . . . Oh, the Motherland don't love you / The Fatherland don't love you / So why love anything? / Oh, good God / The faithless, they don't love you / The zealous hearts don't love you / And that's not gonna change / All the cameras and files / All the paranoid style / All the tension and fear/Of a secret career / And I can't help but feel that you see the mistakes / But you let it go / Ya Hey . . . . Outside the tents, on the festival grounds/As the air began to cool, and the sun went down/My soul swooned, as I faintly heard the sound of you spinning "Israelites" into "19th Nervous Breakdown" . . . .’

    http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107859452719/

    - Cyberghost: “This seems to me to be about trying to find a sense of individuality in the modern world......most people back themselves up against ideals of nationality or religion or societal structure, and here he points out that that's all fake, when it comes down to it none of these things will really support you or help you.”


    - Daaanieeel: ‘ . . . . "Paranoid styles" refers more to the secret fear some (perhaps most) believers feel that God is always watching you, like a Big Brother kind of thing.

    "The tension and fear of a secret career" is referring to a double-life some believers live, the life they don't live in Church or at home or wherever. They see it as a kind of act of hiding from God, a bit like the Jonah story.

    "And I can't help but feel, That you see the mistakes, But you let it go" refers to the mistakes of this world, the war, pollution, corrupt governments etc. This line questions God's caring of the world, saying that he sees these horrible things but just lets them go. It is asking "if you exist, then how can there be evil and suffering?". This line is a bit like the "through the fire and through the flames" line.’


    - TFerro: A song about questioning God's existence and the hypocrisy of religious people.

    "I can't help but feel that I made some mistake, but I let it go" means that everyone knows that deep down they are "sinners" but they don't really care. Religious people are only religious when it helps them.

    "And I think in your heart that you see the mistakes, but you let it go" means that a supposed omnipotent God would be able to rid the world of injustice, but somehow God does not act. He won't even say his name.


    If God exists and allows the world to be the way it is, then how could this God live with himself?


    Who could ever live this way?’

    http://personalitycafe.com/guess-typ...e-weekend.html










    - Robert Christgau:


    http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_a...ampire+Weekend

    Modern Vampires in the City [XL, 2013]
    Think maybe this is overworked? Think maybe the hosannas are reflexive, generalized? I did, and then I didn't. So now think Paul Simon instead if you insist, admittedly a great album. But Sgt. Pepper is a truer precedent, to wit: if you're smart you say where's the rebop, only if you're smarter you quickly figure out that maybe sustaining groove and unfailing exuberance don't matter as much as you believed. Each verse/chorus/bridge/intro melody, each lyric straight or knotty, each sound effect playful or perverse (or both)--each is pleasurable in itself and aptly situated in the sturdy songs and tracks, so that the whole signifies without a hint of concept. And crucially, the boy-to-man themes you'd figure come with several twists I've noticed so far and more no doubt to come. One is simply a right-on credo: "Age is an honor--it's still not the truth." Another is how much time Ezra Koenig spends wrestling a Jahweh-like hard case. The Big Guy comes out on the short end of a fight song called "Unbelievers," and a DJ "spinning 'Israelites' into 'Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown'" gives Him a nasty turn. But Koenig claims no permanent victory. Too smart. Too much a man, too. A+


    http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/bn/2010-02.php

    Smart and Smarter

    The nonsense about Vampire Weekend being in any definitive way "African" has dispersed somewhat with the release of their second album, Contra. And though they still offend the usual gaggle of indie purists, it's worth emphasizing that Vampire Weekend's indie ties are more structural rather than cultural--they chose the clubs-and-blogosphere route because the demo-and-a&r route was closed to art-band traffic years ago. The source of contention that remains is class--the four Columbia graduates' access to privilege and, supposedly, their celebration of privilege.

    Class is America's nastiest secret, always worth raising in pop. But the concept is at its most slippery in the U S of A, where economic power is wielded by an ever-changing alliance of the wealthy and the well-born. Although indeed Ivy Leaguers, another vexed concept, the members of Vampire Weekend come from backgrounds that are managerial if that. Bassist Chris Baio's parents are lawyers, although his dad was a child actor and he's related to '80s teenthrob Scott Baio. Drummer Chris Tomson's father is an engineer. Having escaped Iran shortly after the ayatollahs took over, keyboard maestro Rostam Batmanglij's mother Najmieh is a renowned Persian cooking expert, his father Mohammed a publisher of books on Iran who gave $250 to Howard Dean in 2004. Frontman, wordsmith, cutie-pie, and scholarship boy Ezra Koenig is the son of a set designer and an academic. This is all still privilege. But it's no closer to ruling-class power than it is to the affluence of the average American geekboy who gets to insult music he resents online.

    I initially reacted to the "Upper West Side Soweto" imbroglio by slotting Vampire Weekend as a fine little pop band. What I didn't get at first--what you often don't get with pop bands until their light touch endures--was how fine. My epiphany came one sunny but pensive 4:30 last summer, playing their debut on a whim as I drove a rented compact to a state beach east of New Haven with my wife and daughter. There was the boyish, educated Koenig delivering the album's enigmatic first verse--which cites, let me point out, not just a mansard roof but garbage and concrete. After a repeat, a non-African guitar figure strummed hard over Tomson's marchlike clatter raised the emotional ante, and then an ahistorical verse about some Argentine-with-a-long-I sea battle adduced imperialism and the insubstantiality of all things before livelying all things up with the same strum-and-clatter.

    As knottier songs that were still catchy and bright followed, my mood lifted. Hell of a summer record, I thought and soon exclaimed, and my family said amen. The overall effect recalled the Beach Boys or B-52's--not quite as tuneful, but also not nostalgic the way tuneful indie-pop can be. Celebratory, absolutely. But of what privilege? Budget Rent a Car? Hammonasset State Park? Maybe just not working on a sunny day. Or maybe the privilege, and thrill, of holding apparent incommensurabilities in your mind-body continuum. When education does everything it oughta, it's good for that stuff.

    Like most quality follow-ups, Contra takes some getting used to. It's less sparkly than Vampire Weekend, and less frothy; the slow one that grows on you at the end is preceded by a long one that remains rather long. But when the band greeted 3000-plus fans at a sold-out United Palace Theater January 17 with two new ones, the Afroriff-introed "White Sky" and the upful trifle "Holiday," they were cheered no less wildly than "Mansard Roof" and "Walcott" at the encore. Three consecutive tracks at the album's heart conjure a disintegrating romance with someone closer to the ruling class than Koenig while jacking Auto-Tune, Bach and/or Roy Bittan, and the Miami Sound Machine, respectively. "Cousins" is about birthrights and rocks frantic; "Giving Up the Gun" is about guitars and rocks warm calm and collected. With help from its uncontested release date and some minor marketing hanky-pank, Contra debuted at number one in the January 30 Billboard, an exceedingly rare feat for an independently distributed album. It sold 124,000, precisely a quarter of the impressive 498,000 the debut had racked up in 100 times that long.

    The next week, in a typical pattern, Lady Gaga and Susan Boyle regained their rightful places in the cosmos as Spoon's indie album entered at four and VW sank to six with raw sales dipping sharply to 43,000, somewhat below the statistical mean. So who knows what kind of legs Contra will have, what kind of audience it will crystallize? Right now, however, Vampire Weekend signify pretty big. Having declined to squeeze into the jammed club gigs of their ascent and then missed a storm-soaked festival stop last July, I'd never seen the band before the United Palace show, and they were a revelation--not only did I have a terrific time, most of it on my feet like everyone else, but I found myself scrawling "Jonas Brothers!" in my notebook. The terrific time I'd hoped for even though I'd heard the band was a little stiff. But the Jonas Brothers part had never crossed my mind. I wasn't ready for the squealing--not the cheers themselves, but their pitch.

    Granted, this show, in an uptown neighborhood a skip and a jump from Bergen County via the George Washington Bridge, was a made-to-order date night. In a clean-cut crowd full of the bridge-and-tunnel dabblers indie purists have bad dreams about, the preppy duds the band gets dissed for were a viable style. These were boys you could take home to mother, and they went to a good school too. Not that this will turn them into the indie-pop Kanye West, whose sweaters have proved prophetic--neither their talent nor their ambition is that phenomenal. But it separates them big-time from Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, and the like.

    Gossip-boy dope notwithstanding, they can all play, and stiff they're not--two years in the spotlight have generated some committed stagecraft. The warm patter, ace pacing, and energetic jumping around may not be much by Jonas Brothers standards, but it's enough to keep the crowd going, and compared to such club-and-blogosphere strategies as musicianly withdrawal, frenetic rocking, sly role-playing, and tacky extravaganza Vampire Weekend's outgoing simplicity amounts to a conceptual breakthrough. Also, there's a counterpart in their approach to the undefinable notion of pop itself.

    I've named Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie, who along with the Shins are the biggest "pop"-identified indie bands. But indie-rock, while caught up in a prog phase that looks pretty entrenched from here, continues to nurture many adepts of old-fashioned songcraft, most of whom cut retro revivalism with touches of good-natured irony. Sticking to 21st-century nonpunks, I'd start by listing Franz Ferdinand, the Arctic Monkeys, Rilo Kiley, Phoenix, Camera Obscura, Girls, Jens Lekman, and my beloved if elderly Wussy. But though Death Cab's mildly emo Ben Gibbard, the Arctic Monkeys' bleakly cheeky Alex Turner, Rilo Kiley's strictly gorgeous Jenny Lewis, and Phoenix's belatedly exuberant Thomas Mars all hold theoretical allure for the casual, unaestheticized audience Franz Ferdinand briefly grabbed, Ezra Koenig reaches out far more wholeheartedly. And while several of my nominees are formally adventurous, in no case could that adventurousness be called expansive--it's ingrown, all chords and song structures. Vampire Weekend are different.

    The reason is syncretism. As it happens, the kind of cross-cultural reappropriation that's kicked up so much nonsense around Vampire Weekend is also the process by which, for example, captive Arab girls juiced the harem music of dynastic Egypt, or classically trained Creole sight readers spread jazz, or four Liverpool speed freaks beat Chuck Berry, rockabilly, Tin Pan Alley, and skiffle into a noise rude enough for the Reeperbahn. Historically, syncretism has been the main way pop musics have evolved. I began by dismissing the idea that Vampire Weekend are African, and they're not. But definitely they've grafted tiny elements from all over the place, Africa included, onto a guitar-keyboards-bass-drums pop band. Instead of looking back, they looked around. Their music feels outgoing because that's literally what it is. As Jon Pareles put it in his United Palace rave, they're "relentlessly catchy," recombining borrowed elements "with melodies that hop around wildly but still register as pop (until you try to sing along)."

    Not only that, the borrowings are generally unspecific--and well beyond the ken of your average hater when they aren't. For details see Banning Eyre's expert November 2008 Koenig interview at afropop.org. Eyre isn't offended by VW's Africanisms, he's psyched by them--about time is his attitude. Koenig emphasizes that rather than hooky licks, he's drawn to the trebly, undistorted, single-line African guitar sound, a preference he explains as a reaction to grunge. When Eyre congratulates the rhythm section for almost nailing the Congolese groove of what I just labeled "marchlike clatter," Koenig responds that actually "Mansard Roof" motorvates to a speeded-up reggaeton beat. Then he reveals that its strum derives from surf hotshot Dick Dale, and Eyre tells him that the half-Lebanese Dale grew up with Arabic music. Strange are the ways of cultural imperialism.

    Rereading the interview, I found myself quite taken with Ezra Koenig. Talking music with an elder who was on his side, he came across not just knowledgeable-yet-curious, eager for the lowdown on Orchestra Super Mazembe and the Washington Heights bachata scene, but exceptionally open and thoughtful in general. He's got what they used to call personality. Of all the frontpeople named above, only the borderline insipid Ben Gibbard is nearly as arresting a singer--on Rostam Batmanglij's mock-electropop project Discovery and Esau Mwamwaya's alt-syncretizing Afro-Brit fabrication the Very Best, Koenig's guest spots pop out of the mix. The Paul Simon comparisons aren't calumnies, but vocally he's much less smug and as a correlative more strained--he's trying, hard. He's a little shy, a little sly, sweet and changeable and impulsive, someone who's figured out he's cute without stifling his inner nerd. He's funny sometimes. He's got brains.

    For the haters, I suspect that last is the nub. Although Columbia is one of the less exclusive Ivy League locations, college prep has become so insane that the envy runs hotter than it did when I lucked into a Dartmouth scholarship 50 years ago. I get that. But one result of the insanity is that these days there's privilege and intelligence aplenty at pricey places like NYU, where I teach, and Wesleyan, alma mater of the r&b-jacking MGMT, who get none of this guff. Moreover, at every school there's smart and then there's smarter. Koenig is smarter and wouldn't think of stifling it. Of course he threatens plodders and pretenders.

    Holding apparent incommensurabilities in your mind-body continuum is a spiritual discipline available to anyone capable of both compassion and pleasure. Prefer T-shirts to Ralph Lauren? Well, you can still buy from sweatshops, and don't be so sure abjuring imports is the path of unalloyed righteousness--the Akron and Beatles Ts whose labels I just checked were both made in Haiti. But for most Americans it seems easier, and more natural, to turn off compassion or pleasure in turn. If there's a balancing process, for most it starts in the mind, and Vampire Weekend's rather good minds set them to sorting out ever more complex incommensurabilities. Keeping the mood playful rather than succumbing to racial embarrassment or fetishizing serotonin malfunction, both familiar indie disorders, Koenig throws up cultural contradictions and leaves it to his listeners to sort them out--or not. Many high squealers let them wash over. Many shallow thinkers take them the wrong way. How Koenig adjusts to these inevitabilities we'll have to wait and see.

    And one more thing. There is no music anywhere better at this trick than Afropop, and often without apparent cogitation. One of the blithest-sounding records I know is Electric Highlife: Sessions From the Bokoor Studios, in which a bunch of obscure Ghanaians, working in an early-'80s period of rampant inflation, sing soulfully but ebulliently about their poverty, their enemies, their faith in God. Their bravery is something to marvel at even if you worry that it's really escapism. There's no way any American pop band could equal it. But try to emulate it? Really, why the hell not?

    Barnes & Noble Review, Feb. 8, 2010’


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF8M1ekqnl4


    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/li...-city-19691231

    ‘The first two Vampire Weekend albums showed off a sound unlike any other in rock: a precocious mix of indie pop, African guitar grooves and wry, boat-shoe-preppy lyrics that were sometimes too cute for their own good. But with Modern Vampires of the City, they went deeper, adding scope and ambition to all the sophistication. In 2013, no other record mixed emotional weight with studio-rat craft and sheer stuck-in-your-head hummability like this one. It's one of rock's great albums about staring down adulthood and trying not to blink — that moment where, as singer Ezra Koenig puts it, you realize "wisdom's a gift/But you'd trade it for youth." The music is sculpted and subtly bonkers, with orchestral sweeps balancing hymnlike beauty and dub-inflected grooves. Koenig earns those Paul Simon comparisons thanks to vivid lyrics about youngish things in crisis — the unemployed friend who can't find a reason to shave in "Obvious Bicycle," the weary couple soldiering through the road-trip epic "Hannah Hunt." Then there's Koenig himself, filling songs like "Worship You" with religious allusions, evoking the search for meaning and faith with wit and skepticism. The album's fog-over-New York cover reminds us just how hard that search has become. The music makes it feel worth the heartache just the same.’




    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/al...-city-20130507

    Vampire Weekend
    Modern Vampires of the City




    By Nathan Brackett

    May 7, 2013

    It's official: Vampire Weekend really don't give a fuck about an Oxford comma. On their third album, Ezra Koenig and the band have rid themselves, once and for all, of the precious post-collegiate references that used to be their calling card: The girls of Wellfleet have scattered, and apparently that second horchata didn't go down as smooth as the first. Koenig is now an old 29; adulthood is inescapable; a clock is ticking in his head. "Wisdom's a gift/But you'd trade it for youth," he sings broodingly, dropping dark nuggets that wouldn't go over too well in a Tommy Hilfiger commercial: "There's a headstone right in front of you/And everyone I know." In "Obvious Bicycle," he sings to a jobless friend who doesn't have a reason to shave: "You ought to spare your face the razor/Because no one's gonna spare their time for you."

    All of this might sound like a band in a third-album funk, except that Vampire Weekend have gotten better at just about everything they do. The grooves – always the thing that made the band's twee side work – are more self-assured. "Finger Back" has all the energy of the group's best uptempo tracks ("A-Punk," "Cousins") but flips it with a killer stutter-step beat by drummer Chris Tomson and bassist Chris Baio. Koenig has become a more mature lyricist, editing out some of the hyperliteracy without dumbing down. For the first time, Vampire Weekend evoke the spirit of their old influence Paul Simon – making music with precise craft and soul that speaks to the heart of city life – without sounding anything like Graceland. The hymnlike harmonies of "Bicycle" are as pretty as anything they've ever written. "Unbelievers" has an easy hook that recalls another rocker they've looked up to, Tom Petty. "Hannah Hunt" lifts a simple story about an ambivalent couple driving across the country into something almost religious, with a crescendo that opens up like the coast of Santa Barbara, where our heroes end up, bickering.

    God, of all people, looms large: He is a foil on "Unbelievers," where Koenig sings about the fundamentalist half of the world wanting to throw him and his lady under the tracks of the train. The sweet "Everlasting Arms" is partly inspired by a 19th-century church song; "Worship You" references Paradise Lost (and Nick Cave). "Ya Hey" (rhymes with "Yahweh" – get it?) retells the Old Testament story of the burning bush, over a dubby groove. (It's not the first reggae touch: Vampires takes its title from Jamaican singer Junior Reid's 1990 track "One Blood.")

    The flip side of "Ya Hey" is "Diane Young," a psychotically Auto-Tuned, twisted rockabilly song that's a play on "dyin' young." Koenig sings about a well-lubricated Irish girl with the "luck of a Kennedy" (uh-oh) who ends up torching a Saab. Koenig doesn't judge her, but he sure as hell doesn't get in the car – it's almost like he's torching that whole Cape Cod thing, once and for all, saying goodbye to young adulthood as his band is pushing into awesome new directions. The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out. But the kids stand a chance.’




    http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-...ums-of-2013/5/

    Vampire Weekend
    Modern Vampires of the City


    "Ya Hey" is, like so much of Modern Vampires of the City, something at once tender and impossibly grand—a break-up song about God. "Oh, sweet thing," Ezra Koenig coos. "Babylon don't love you." Then comes an even more backhanded kiss-off: "But you love everything."

    You love everything. The same could (and has) been said of Vampire Weekend, with and without the italicized sneer. Back in 2007, when their self-titled CD-R first started making its way beyond Columbia's campus, you'd have been hard-pressed to read something about them that didn't balk at their cultural omnivorousness—an Ivy League indie-pop band that name-checks Lil Jon and Peter Gabriel in the same sustained breath? Half a decade later, it is equally hard to imagine this same fact surprising anybody. As Modern Vampires showcases, a transformation has taken place within Vampire Weekend—they've grown into a mature, ambitious band whose music is now both airier and weightier than it used to be. But a broader cultural shift has occurred, too. The lines that used to separate different kinds of music are starting to look more and more old-fashioned, and the rigid identities by which people used to make musical taste a game of us-vs.-them are crumbling like old buildings. We are moving in the direction of a place where everybody is allowed to love everything.

    And the album's more lighthearted moments—the crash-pop of "Diane Young" or the half-rapped, harpsichord-kissed Souls of Mischief nod "Step"—feel like an anarchic celebration of this. But there's also an unshakable sense of gravitas anchoring these songs. Multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij (who co-produced with the ubiquitous Ariel Rechtshaid) is as eloquent with atmosphere as Koenig is with words; every track on here has its own weather. The arrangements on career-to-date peaks like "Obvious Bicycle" and "Hannah Hunt" are meticulous but well-ventilated—chatter drifts in, as if through an open window, providing hazy backdrops for Koenig's lyrical searching.

    "I'm not excited, but should I be?/ Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me?" a disillusioned narrator sings in "Unbelievers", glancing around at a shitty job market, mounting student loans, and a culture that likes to blame all its ailments on the helpless young. On Modern Vampires, Vampire Weekend reject the narrative that has been used to describe their generation: In the clock-smashing slow-motion of "Hannah Hunt", somebody takes the Paper of Record—you imagine it's turned to one of those Trouble With Millennials articles—and tears it into pieces.

    But this record also tears up the narrative that has up until now defined Vampire Weekend. Modern Vampires is such an overwhelmingly humane album that it makes all those words that used to stick to them (elitist, pretentious, preppy) seem outmoded, too. Maybe what this album is really breaking up with is dogma—anything that limits the scope of your perspective and what (or who) you can love. It believes in nothing so much as this moment, speaking in pitch-shifted tongues, and finding its own heaven in the Cloud. —Lindsay Zoladz
    Last edited by HERO; 04-08-2014 at 10:45 AM.

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    I have him typed as ENFp. I would need to do more research though because I could see SEI.

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