Some Fp [Feeling (ethical) and perceiving (irrational)] type. Perhaps IEE or IEI.
Here are the pictures:
Here's what Robert Christgau had to say:
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
"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: