Vampire Weekend has always been clever, but I never expected them to be deep. Yet here it is: The year’s most emotionally and sonically nuanced record, in which Ezra Koenig grapples resonantly with the impending demise of everyone he knows, the dwindling currency of youth, and What It All Means. Lyrically, Koenig is on his Nobel Prize shit — lacing his scenes with just enough detail to evoke the maximum emotional response but not so much that it handcuffs the imagination, gracefully confronting some of life’s scarier questions, never abandoning his penchant for canny cultural references. His meditations on death are embedded in a musical landscape that breathes and sparkles courtesy of Rostam Batmanglij, Ariel Rechtshaid and the gang, a series of immaculate concoctions that effortlessly bridge the symphonic and the synthetic. Together, they embraced and surpassed the prevailing sounds of modern pop while eviscerating its prevailing wisdom. The result was an instant classic LP that sealed Vampire Weekend’s legacy as one of the finest bands of their generation. As it turns out, the kids do stand a chance. Stereogum’s 50 Best Albums of 2013, #3: Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend (via teamvampireweekend)
ROLLING STONE’S 50 BEST ALBUM’S OF 2013: #1 - VAMPIRE WEEKEND, ‘MODERN VAMPIRES OF THE CITY’
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.