Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride
This album took a few listens to grow on me, but it gets better and better with each listen. There are a range of styles on this album, ranging from pop to lounge jazz, but what makes the album a cohesive whole are the common themes of marriage, love, and the inanities of relationships that almost every track references. Vampire Weekend also successfully maintain their sense of satire with playfully provocative song titles such as "Unbearably White" and "Rich Man" that are assuredly designed to rankle the outrage-prone who forgo nuance and argue in 140-character bursts.
At first glance the tone of the album appears much lighter than the existential questioning of Modern Vampires of the City, as most tracks are filled with major chords and upbeat energy. Upon further listen, however, the subject matter is more complicated. The major chords mask the fact that the lyrics deal with dissolved relationships, betrayal, the pain humanity can cause, and the destruction brought on by climate change. Should "We Belong Together", a song that couldn't sound more celebratory and includes an eponymous chorus, be played at weddings when the things Ezra and Danielle Haim say they go together like are all opposites? Is it a song about love or about being trapped in a relationship that doesn't make sense? This album leaves room for interpretation that provides lasting value beyond its initial surface appeal.
What makes this album especially great is the musicianship and attention to detail in each of the songs. So many guitar parts have minor flourishes that elevate them beyond just being simple chord progressions, there's the occasional saxophone, and Ezra continues to show his skill of turning busy complex melodies into earworms. "Sunflower", "This Life", "How Long?", and "Unbearably White" are all highlights, but there's truly not a bad song on the album. This was worth the six year wait. I'm still not for sure how they maybe created their best album after Rastam left.