It’s been a hot minute since we’ve heard from Vampire Weekend, but we should all be glad to see that they have not lost an ounce of charm. Depending on how old you are and what five years ago means to you, you may be able to hear the faint sound of sneaking off your high school campus in your best friend’s car for lunch in Ezra Koenig’s voice. It takes you right back.
Everyone knows that Vampire Weekend has always sounded like they have been in cahoots with Paul Simon, but "Harmony Hall“ accentuates that more than ever before. That is a beautiful thing. The song is deeply rooted in politics: “anger wants a voice, voices wanna sing” represents the anger found in all facets of politics. Mass protests stemming from reactionary anger, white supremacist movements stemming from mass protests that stem from reactionary anger — the cycle goes on and builds like a tumbleweed. In America, it’s easy to conclude that everyone is generally angry about something. This is new for Vampire Weekend, who have normally been pretty apolitical. It seems as though they have been reborn in their absence.
The lyrics “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die” will be one of those lyrics that deeply resonates with people for obvious reasons. No matter what we do — or even where we lie on a political spectrum --, hopelessness will creep into our lives and our brains at some point. And it can be hard to voice that pain, so Vampire Weekend’s doing it for you. (It’s also a little homage to “Finger Back,” an older Vampire Weekend song.)
2021 slows it down. But keeps it vaguely political! Repetitive, melancholic, and short, the band approaches what life may be like in 2021. Will we be remembered? Will Vampire Weekend be remembered? Will minorities be remembered? We don’t know and can’t know. We’ll wait and see, together.
Thankfully, Vampire Weekend continues to please. They are clearly keeping it experimental, and the first half of the album singles are hinting at a very strong comeback.
Listen to the singles here!