Vampire Weekend will unveil Father of the Bride in May, so it’s time to count down their very best songs.
American indie band Vampire Weekend won everyone over in 2008 with their self-titled debut album. It’s without a doubt one of the quintessential indie releases of the late 2000s and remains an absolute pleasure to listen to. For fans, it captures a sense of summer; of days soaking up the sun without a care. It conveys such happiness and youth, still possessing such a transporting quality for the listener.
Essentially, they kept such feelings alive with their sophomore effort, Contra, in 2010. It was the pivotal point for Vampire Weekend – these were not just a one-album wonder or a fad. They were here to stay, and they have certainly done just that. Modern Vampires of the City – their third studio record – came in 2013 and provided us with another wonderful release. It’s been a pretty lengthy absence since, but the boys are finally back.
The band have released four tracks recently, “Harmony Hall”, “2021”, “Sunflower (feat. Steve Lacy)” and “Big Blue” – fortunately, they’re still the very same Vampire Weekend. The former two are pretty great cuts, but the latter two aren’t quite as impressive. Despite this, things are looking optimistic for fourth album Father of the Bride, which is due to release May 3, 2019. Before it does, let’s count down the group’s ten best songs:
10. “Walcott” ( 3:42 – Vampire Weekend)
When the band’s first album dropped, there was a sense that Vampire Weekend had it all. One of the songs which reinforced this was “Walcott” – perhaps the grandest cut on the record. In slight contrast to the rest of the material, the penultimate track boasts a sense of the epic. It’s grandiose, defiant, catchy, and this really comes across in their live performances. It’s one last frenzy of energy before “The Kid’s Don’t Stand A Chance” sweeps in to conclude a miraculous debut.
9. “Unbelievers” (3:23 – Modern Vampires of the City)
Arguably, Modern Vampires of the City didn’t quite manage to spur the buzz of its predecessors. It was indeed very well-received; perhaps it just wasn’t as urgent as Vampire Weekend or Contra. Nevertheless, it landed in 2013 boasting some lovely material. The second track – “Unbelievers” – really gets things going after the slow-moving, expository “Obvious Bicycle”. Quite simply, it’s a joy to listen to and helps usher in a wonderful third release.
8. “Cape Kod Kwassa Kwassa” (3:34 – Vampire Weekend)
“Cape Kod Kwassa Kwassa” is one of those lovely, care-free cuts which helped define the band’s appeal. It’s chilled, catchy and frankly rather infectious – a song that never fails to raise a smile. Their self-titled debut is rich in tracks like this, and yet, it remains one of the most fun to return to.
7. “White Sky” (2:58 – Contra)
“Horchata” was a great choice to open the band’s second album, Contra. However, it’s in full swing once “White Sky” arrives, setting a curious tone for the record which arguably features the band’s liveliest material. The verses are rhythmic and grabbing, and then the chorus swells into playful vocals which channel the energy of singers like Kate Bush. It’s a great song and one of the major highlights of their live shows.
6. “I Think Ur A Contra” (4:29 – Contra)
The concluding track “I Think Ur A Contra” is a comforting farewell; a hearty wave to the listener as they prepare to exit the exciting world of Vampire Weekend. It features some quaint key-work and rewards the listener with a real lasting impression. Perhaps the track can be described as a charming invitation – “it’s winding down, but be sure to return”. Like much of their work, it’s an absolute pleasure.
5. “A-Punk” (2:17 – Vampire Weekend)
Here it is. “A-Punk” is without a doubt the group’s most popular song to date, and is the song which many non-fans will recognise them for. Sure, it’s over-played and they have better songs, but who cares? It’s still a phenomenal short burst of pure Vampire Weekend and rarely fails to ignite a frenzy of reckless dancing. It’s happy, it’s cool… it’s their sound.
4. “Everlasting Arms” (3:03 – Modern Vampires of the City)
By far, “Everlasting Arms” is one of the most beautiful songs the band has ever recorded. There’s not much more to say, really. It’s wonderfully structured and offers such an intoxicating, touching string section to round it all off. Perfection.
3. “Giving Up The Gun” (4:46 – Contra)
Contra is a terrific release and one of the best indie records of its respective year. So, it’s no short praise to argue that “Giving Up The Gun” is the best track on the record. Lyrically it’s one of the most engaging and offers something much more substantial than the “A-Punk”-esque “Cousins” which precedes it. The cut exhibits a much more mature style of song-writing, which we’d see more of on Modern Vampires of the City…
2. “Hannah Hunt” (3:58 – Modern Vampires of the City)
Although tempting to award “Hannah Hunt” the number one spot, it slots in quite nicely at number two. It begins quietly, and we simply sit back and listen to vocalist Ezra Koenig spin us a little story. The instrumentation is minimal, allowing us to focus on the storytelling and roll with the narrative. As things develop, we are thrown into an outburst of emotion; overwhelming in the best possible way. In terms of pacing and arrangement, this may be their very best – gradual, gleaming… great.
1. “Oxford Comma” (3:15 – Vampire Weekend)
The top spot had to feature a song from their debut, and after much deliberation, “Oxford Comma” truly stands out as the most satisfying. It perfectly captures the image and appeal of Vampire Weekend and many will pinpoint it as the moment they fell in love with the band. “Mansard Roof” opens the album, but it’s “Oxford Comma” which offers what you’d consider a proper introduction. In the wake of it, you’re hooked; we’ve all been hooked ever since.
There you have it: the top ten best Vampire Weekend songs. We’re sure there will be some rearranging to do once Father of the Bride drops May 4, 2019. Until then, kick back and return to these gems.
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