Best Albums 2008: 2 – Vampire Weekend

The critical reaction has been fairly positive, but the reaction from the blogosphere has been lukewarm. There was an extreme buildup, quite a bit of backlash and various other reactions. Some people think it’s too preppy, that some snot-nosed Ivy-Leaguers really don’t know a thing about making music. Even more, the apparent use of African-rhythms and ideas seems (to many observers) as a false way of being sophisticated.

Well I’ll be damned if I care about any of the buildup on either side. Quite simply, the guys of Vampire Weekend have made the catchiest, quirkiest album in recent memory. The word here is “pop.” Everything presented is catchy and fun, full of vibrant, ringing guitars. The production and songwriting is tight and clean, offering a shiny example of the way pop should be.

Every song has great ideas that stay with you for weeks to come. Opener “Mansard Roof” has an excellently delightful keyboard part that bounces along through the good beats. “Oxford Comma” asks about lies and has fairly goofy lyrics. “A-Punk” is simply the best song of the year with perfect jangling guitars and keyboards. “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” has interlaid guitar parts with bongos. “M79” features bright strings and harpsichord-sounding keys. “Campus” is a thoughtful song about romance and college life. “Bryn” has an amazing guitar line that follows throughout. There is a bit of nonsensical fun on “One (Blake’s Got a New Face).” The drums are stronger and more meaningful at the end of “I Stand Corrected.” The pianos are great and uplifting on “Walcott.” There is brilliance in the minimalism and string parts on “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” and it provides a great closer to the album.

Yeah – I just listed a small bit about every song on the album. But the amazing thing is that with even a preliminary play, you’ll notice these parts just jump out. The roadmap listed above is fairly representative of what will stick with you.

Vampire Weekend is a great album, from start to end. The musicality (yes, it’s really quite impressive) and the infectious tunes are simply amazing. This is deservedly the second greatest album of 2008.

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5 comments on “Best Albums 2008: 2 – Vampire Weekend

  1. cousinwalter says:

    I think the only question that needs to be asked is- “IS THIS A GOOD PIECE OF MUSIC?”

    The answer is without a doubt, YES. It is so agreeable. Music critics spend too much time trying to figure a piece of music out based on a band’s image or if it is cool to like them as opposed to just focusing on the question – DO YOU LIKE THE MUSIC OR NOT?

    Who really cares if they are Columbia English majors? They could be Techwood Crack whores and I would still think the album is great. Easily, the best music purchase I made this year.

    Nice blog

  2. Matt says:

    I definitely agree with you there. Yes, the artistic merits or particular backgrounds of each band are fun to discuss, but the musicality involved has to do entirely with the music itself.

    I really enjoyed the catchy, fun songs involved, and I’m glad that I picked this up. However, there’s a better album that came out this year… or so I seem to think…

  3. Ke says:

    “Yeah – I just listed a small bit about every song on the album. ”
    and that’s a talent right there. I am horrible with words, so my random appreciation probably does not matter buttt good job describing the album! I’m actually curious as to what your number one album will be.

  4. cousinwalter says:

    Matt,

    I figure once you get to the top 5 albums of the year, they are all pretty solid at that point.

    When you were talking about the reaction from the blogosphere being lukewarm– It seems that when a few people discover a really good band and then later a much larger population of people discover those orginally people than claim to no longer like the album as is the music changed or something.

    It reminds me of when the Strokes released “Is This It?” (in 2001 or winter 2002?) and people liked it but once MTV discovered them the original group of fans that discovered them in New York and over the internet, seemed to shun them because they became popular. This seems to only happens in the Indie rock community it seems.

  5. cousinwalter says:

    Correction-the orginal people claim they no longer like the band once they become popular. Sorry about that

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