A Slice of Fried Gold

Hype! (Or how Vampire Weekend learned to stop worrying and love to rock)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Vampire Weekend

Vampires love weekends.
Stay up late, sleep in, whatever.
They become people.

Thanks to Amy for my horrible affliction, my ridiculous obsession with these things called haiku's! Anyways, because I've been spouting them off every fifteen seconds for the past thirty minutes, it felt fitting to start my post with that (and I may even continue doing that, because they're so fun).

Back to the point, I know I'm really late to this party, but I finally caved and purchased Vampire Weekend's debut album (shockingly titled Vampire Weekend) after having it downloaded for a few weeks. After my unfathomably ahead of the curve and very cool Mom told me over and over to download it in December, I finally got around to it in February after the hype around the album became deafening.

I try not to give into hype too often because quite often, it isn't remotely earned and sometimes the music isn't even listenable, let alone buzzworthy. For every deserving artist like Sufjan Stevens or Interpol out there, there is a similar number of bands with undeserved hype behind them (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! I'm looking at you!). It isn't the bands fault...they don't create the hype (although some go out of their way to make it happen), but they do receive it when they hardly create what some would refer to as great music.

With Vampire Weekend though, simply put: the music is too good.

I had to buy into the hype.

The first hype band I really got behind were the Strokes when they released Is This It?, and Vampire Weekend's rapid ascension simultaneously on the Billboard Charts and within the eyes of the critical elite is eerily reminiscent of the Strokes very own experience.

Strangely enough, they tend to remind me of each other, not just in sound (obviously VW has a lot more of a reggae-ish feel, while the Strokes were the poster boys for the garage movement, but the central ideas are the same I feel), but in the fact that they both exhibit musical talent that translates well to eminently catchy and listenable music.

This is why I am in no way surprised that Vampire Weekend has found success, but also why I think that unlike some of their hype band contemporaries (I know this will be controversial, but Arcade Fire, I'm looking at you), they will find only more success on further ventures down the road. So long as they choose the right paths, and don't choose "growth" for the sake of growth, or just keeping the same sound to try to capture lightning in the bottle a second time. It's a tricky road, but I get the feeling these guys can handle it.

As for now, they have their hands full with what's clearly the best album so far this year (or last year to my Mom).


Patty said...

About time.

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