Having lost count of the number of times I’ve played this album, I thought I should try and put my undying love into words. It has been little over a year since Modern Vampires of the City was released, and it has gone on to be named best album of 2013 by Rolling Stone and Pitchfork Media. It also secured Vampire Weekend their first Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. This album is the third in a trilogy; partly because it showcases the growth and development of the band, but also because it feels like a grand finale. Although, the success of this LP doesn’t show the end of Vampire Weekend, but rather a chance for new beginnings.
This album is a vehicle for transportation and immersion. The stories are moving, exciting and told with unwavering passion. The lyrics tell of gravestones, confusion and the fear that inevitably comes from growing older. In a way, the regret and apprehension contrasted with the well known upbeat vibes and fast guitars, heighten the confusion felt by both the band and the listener, and increase the sense of detachment. MVOTC is totally inspiring, not only because of the beautiful lyrics, but also because of the enticing world of sound that we fall into.
This is one of the first times that Koenig’s voice has been manipulated to this extent throughout the discography. Rostam Batmanglij (songwriter, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist) plays with a variety of soundscapes which both mystify and entice. What cannot be expressed through lyrics is shown through haunting melodies and captivating compositions. In particular Hudson, Hannah Hunt and Ya Hey showcase the delicate balance of voice and instruments. Every sound and note feels purposeful and essential to the track, and moreover, some of the distinct instruments and manipulations echo the two previous LPs.
Lyrically, MVOTC has great depth and meaning, One can take the stories told at face value, which is perfectly logical, considering most of the songs present their meanings clearly. However, one can also look at the original intention and concept envisioned by Koenig and Batmanglij, and gain far more. Personally, I attached different meanings and emotions to those which were intended on a few of the tracks. I later realised the intended metaphors and references; a great many of which were in relation to God, and religion, but also love, adventure and youth.
This deeply passionate LP has a number of messages and intentions, and I think all of them are relevant. The whole point of a song is to connect, whether it is to the composer, or to an audience. In MVOTC, this connection is felt with every word, and every note. Vampire Weekend connect with young people, and so, even if the tracks are sometimes about the inevitability of the future, they are still accessible and enjoyable. MVOTC serenades New York City, the youth of today and shows the power of music. Clearly, this is an excellent LP, since I have kept it on repeat for over a year, and I am still not bored. For me, this was the best album of 2013. Tell me yours in the comments.
- Hannah Hunt
- Ya Hey