“Obvious Bicycle” is so raw you can hear the spokes of the bicycle clicking through the gears of the song like a typewriter or Polaroid snapshots. Harmonies rush through the opening track introducing the angelic, choral sound that is Vampire Weekend.
The crisp, fresh indie rock on the group’s 2013 record, “Modern Vampires of the City,” is what earned it a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
For me, this album is fall.
Nothing says autumn like the quick-paced melody of “Unbelievers” or the staunch statements of “Don’t Lie.” I inhale every lyric like a pumpkin-flavored beverage.
My go-to song since my first run-through is “Step.”
The one-two piano notes carry the track like pouncing down the stairs one pair of steps at a time. Its high frequency contrasts flawlessly with lead vocalist Ezra Koenig’s spoken lyrics.
Hip-hop group Souls of Mischief’s “Step to My Girl” inspired the song’s lyrics.
The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
What you on about?
I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones
I’m stronger now, I’m ready for the house
This album came out during a time in which I, too, faced adult themes for the first time in my life. Taxes, getting a degree, relationships, fall clothes shopping (kidding) — nothing some extension of this record doesn’t cover.
It’s a desperate, grim glimpse at what life is like post-high school. It’s my life’s soundtrack for half of the year.
“Diane Young” changes the album’s direction. It’s upbeat, positive and downright fun, — in contrast to the bleak lyrics around it — but for some reason it really fits into what I deem the most cohesive album released that year. Because I’ve heard every album released that year.
But, “Diane Young” and “Hannah Hunt” would’ve gotten a pass regardless of how I felt about them. Songs with names in the title are sort of a guilty pleasure, as I take the liberty of inserting my name or someone else’s name whom I know.
With “Don’t Lie,” the seasons change. Winter arrives with a snow reference, cold lyrics and the beckoning of darkness.
Darkness Vampire Weekend brings with “Hannah Hunt” and even further so with “Hudson.” Other notables to this 12-track masterpiece include the religious explorations in “Everlasting Arms,” “Ya Hey” and “Worship You.”
“Young Lion” bookends the album, ending it similarly to the way “Obvious Bicycle” started it, with heavy hands on the piano keys. With that, the record is architecturally sound.
On the album art, smog hangs over the New York City skyline accompanied with the title written in the most mystifying Gothic typography in the top-hand right corner. Vampire Weekend is stamped across the front in a bold, modern font, giving the cover the same old-fashioned-to-modern contrast as the album’s title.
I’ve mentioned before my mental list of the 10 records I would take to my island if I could take only 10. But, I have a second list, one composed of records I can’t breathe without.
“Modern Vampires of the City” is on the latter.
Top - Express
Belt - Lulus.com
Jeans - Mossimo Denim, Target
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.