• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Vampire Weekend’s return

ByAnna Claire Shuman

Mar 2, 2024
Ezra Koenig

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Five years after the release of Father of the Bride, Vampire Weekend is back. Two singles off their upcoming album, Only God Was Above Us, ‘Capricorn’ and ‘Gen X Cops’, released on 16th February. It’s hard to call the band who were partially responsible for the boat shoe resurgence of the 2010s edgy, but the two new singles are certainly darker than the band’s manic-pretentious earlier albums, and the more spiritual-pretentious Father of the Bride.

These two new singles feel more like a continuation of Modern Vampires of the City, released in 2013, than FOTB. Crammed with dissonance and scattered distortion, ‘Gen X Cops’ is Ezra Koenig acknowledging his place as an elder millennial; Koenig’s distinct voice floats through a one sided conversation about succession: “It wasn’t built for me/ It’s your academy/ But in my time/ You taught me how to see/ Each generation makes its own apology.” The frenzied instruments give a sense of urgency to Koenig’s cries, like he can’t get rid of the aforementioned academy fast enough.

If ‘Gen X Cops’ is a resigned wail to ageing and inheritance, ‘Capricorn’ is a meditative reflection on the plight of a Capricorn: straddling the end of the old year, and beginning of a new one. “Capricorn/ The year that you were born/ Finished fast/ And the next one wasn’t yours,” Ezra Koenig makes us all feel like Capricorns, in the way you must imagine he (an Aries) must relate. Nearly 40, he grew up in recessions, wars, and is now raising a child in an era of irreversible climate change. His generation is in between an age of abundance and one of extreme fear “Can’t reach the moon now/ Can’t turn the tide.” Slower and more orchestral, the piano that carried the first half of the song gives way to heavily distorted instrumentation that is genuinely shocking the first time you hear it, and makes the rest of the song proceed with caution.

The visuals that accompany this new Vampire Weekend era harken back to a scummier,, dirtier New York City, and the singles feel equally like they belong on the run-down MTA car on the album’s cover and plastered around the cities of today. Koenig again proves his intelligence; the introspection and irony that made him famous is found again, 15 years after the band’s first release. It’s an exciting return to music, and one that could make the five-year wait worth it.

Vampire Weekend, Ezra Koenig” by chriszak is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.