Vampire Weekend may be the most oddly controversial band in music today. The indie heroes burst on the scene in 2008 with refreshingly perfect pop songs that effortlessly complemented relaxing summer days. Some found fault with the band’s Ivy League background, a few claimed the musical style to be dishonest, while others just didn’t want to be seen jumping on the bandwagon. Anyone still stubbornly holding out may want to reconsider his or her position.
The band released its third album, Modern Vampires of the City, today to near universal acclaim. Doubters may have thought that impossible after the critically adored Vampire Weekend and Contra – how can they possibly get better? Believe it or not, Koenig & crew have. Gone are the affectations and references to Oxford commas that critics once targeted as elitism, replaced by more personal, mature lyrics and tighter musical arrangements. Ultimately, perhaps the best sign of a great album is that no one agrees on what the best song is. The label placed its bets on “Diane Young” as the first single while “Ya Hey” is generating significant buzz in the blogosphere. We’re going with the simple, yet refined “Step” – a track that simultaneously reminds us of Vampire Weekend’s past, references its influences (Simon & Garfunkel maybe?) and shows potential for further growth.
Reviewers aren’t the only ones who have noticed. The band returned to Saturday Night Live for the third time over the weekend – a week before Kanye West takes the same stage (you might have heard of him.) In addition, festival promoters have lined up to book the New York quartet. They’ve already played SXSW and Coachella this year and are scheduled for Sasquatch, Firefly, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Squamish, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits. Whew, that’s a long list. Vampire Weekend is going to be the soundtrack to summer for many music fans this year – why not join in on the fun?