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Vampire Weekend leeches cultural responsibility

October 3, 2009

vampire weekend

Your third-year poli sci TA’s band

Pitchfork recently published an interview with Ezra Koenig, head boy of the ultra-collegiate, critically gushed about NYC band Vampire Weekend. In it, Koenig discusses the band’s new album, Contra, due out early next year. You might think it’s a little premature for a band to be doing PR for an album that comes out after the sonically saturated holiday season, but Vampire Weekend is, like most vampire-related things of late, considered to be the shit.

A tiny primer for those caught unawares. The four members of Vampire Weekend met while studying at Columbia University in New York City; they claim to be influenced by African pop music/classical Western music (their Wikipedia entry has them describing their sound as “Upper West Side Soweto”); they’re probably THE indie band that was touted prominently through blog buzz; the founder of Stuff White People Like calls them the whitest band on earth; they have a song called “Oxford Comma” (you make your own assumptions); they have a sartorial penchant for loafers and sweater vests; they’re not bad at all.

Back at Pitchfork, Koenig discusses the intricacies of the new album, inspirational derivatives and such, then launches into a debate about elitism, presumptions and being misunderstood. Koenig is remarkably lucid and insightful about where Vampire Weekend stands in terms of their supposed uber first world-ness:

It’s very easy to say that worrying about finding a path or a job that makes you happy is a first world problem, but it doesn’t make you an asshole for doing it.

Being virulently for the status quo might not make you an asshole, but it’s still problematic (although VW wouldn’t be the first, or last, band to be subject that the same criticism). What Koenig seems to be saying here is, “I’m living my first world way of life while adopting third world themes, symbols and music, but don’t judge me for it.” I’m all for authenticity and Koenig is being mad straight up-it just seems a tad irresponsible that’s all. Like, “Hey I wanna sell records, so don’t call me out on my apparent hypocrisies!”

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