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.