yesterday i bought all points west tickets (and you should buy them too!), which would enable me to see vampire weekend for the sixth time. today i asked my friend simone to send me the link to buy tickets to see vampire weekend at smith college in massachusetts on april 22 (i will be visiting my future alma mater, adjacent mount holyoke college, on this day). this means that, by july 31 2009, i will have seen vampire weekend seven times. vampire weekend has written and performed at some point (by my count) seventeen songs, and if we are to do some terrible math this means i will have seen vampire weekend approximately once for every two songs they have written. this prompted me to demand of myself a question i have heard many, many times in the past year and a half wherein i have spent at least 50% of my music listening time listening to this band:
WHY, WHY, WHY DO I LIKE VAMPIRE WEEKEND SO MUCH?
and its subsequent FOLLOW-UP QUESTION....
WHY, WHY, WHY DO OTHER PEOPLE HATE VAMPIRE WEEKEND SO MUCH?
let's introduce this by saying that, like IT'S THE MONEY SHOT has a "boner for MGMT," i have A BONER FOR VAMPIRE WEEKEND (i understand that i am a girl and this is physically impossible. think about the metaphors here). so let's talk about WHY.
every good argumentative essay starts with a concessions paragraph, so here i will make some concessions as to why people think vampire weekend suck / are not worthy of my repeated support.
1) as i mentioned earlier, they have written 17 songs (the album is 11 songs, plus ladies of cambridge, arrows, white sky, little giant, ottoman, cousins).
2) as they are white and incorporate some ethnic rhythms they are imperialist douchebags
metaphorical cartoon representing vampire weekend's alleged "cultural imperialism"
now in an argumentative essay you're going to want to work in why all the concessions you mentioned in the concessions paragraph are complete and total bullshit, thus proving that your point is right:
to reject concession #1, these seventeen songs are RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. if you like vampire weekend, you can reminisce with me about what YOUR FIRST VW SONG was (mine was THEIR COVER OF EXIT MUSIC. i like to consider this "THE BEGINNING OF THE END"). hearing vampire weekend for the first time was like the moment i realized that i loved living in new york city --- and then i stopped being afraid of the subway, and i stopped demanding my parents to take cabs everywhere, and i wanted to walk in flip-flops and get my feet dirty, and i wanted to be squeezed on the six train in july with every surface sweaty and everyone very irritable, and that i loved this. i was doing something for my job on the internet when i first listened to vampire weekend, and i remember when the drums came in in exit music i just thought "oh, shit."
what i realized when i first heard cousins a few weeks ago was that vampire weekend make exactly the kind of music i want to hear. not all of their songs hit this nail on the head, but a-punk hits it, ladies of cambridge hits it, the verses in ottoman hit it, what i can understand of cousins hits it, and white sky hits it directly in the center, with mind-blowing accuracy. if you are a tough critic you might be thinking "HOW ABOUT YOU JUST GO AND LISTEN TO GRACELAND AND (obscure african musican)." i can tell you that i understand vampire weekend are derivative because all bands are derivative. it is the fact that they are derivative that i appreciate. they manage to amalgamate all their influences in a way that i find absolutely perfect. you can't hate a band because they are derivative. animal collective is derivative (ZING!).
let's reject concession #2, which is a claim i have seen on many pieces of this glorious thing called the internet: vampire weekend are mostly white east-coast dudes with good educations, and some of their songs are influenced by ethnic rhythms, namely those of africa. thusly, they must be imperialists secretly desiring to rule over third-world tribes a la KIPLING'S "THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING."
the interesting thing here is that, when you hate on a band, most people say things like "they suck. they're gay (believe it or not, this seems to be a verifiable way to dis a band. never mind the fact that a lot of gay musicians are very talented --- looks like your go-to insult just backfired, youtube commenters). they sound like joy division. hipsters like them." with vampire weekend, you get "they suck. they're gay. they sound like paul simon. hipsters like them. they're imperialist, white-supremacist, upper-class warriors."
all haterz should photoshop a giant chandelier in place of cecil rhodes in this famous cartoon. then get back to me.
my point here is that, by appreciating the music of other countries and wanting to incorporate some of its inspiration into original music, you're not going back in time and putting smallpox germs on blankets you're then going to give to unsuspecting tribes so you can steal their gold. the fact that people associate racism and imperialism with appreciating the music of other countries is SO BEYOND RIDICULOUS, I DON'T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. i honestly hope that anyone who thinks along these lines is joking and does not actually think along these lines.
this brings up the opportunity for future discussions about AUTHENTICITY, DERIVATION, and HATERS (look out for these! you will see them because they will be novels)
i think i should spend time doing things on this blog besides vehemently defending vampire weekend's honor, like perhaps defending my own dignity. but this (dignity!) is a discussion for another day. i really appreciate writing these giant novels about ridiculous subjects, and i hope on some plane you enjoy reading them.
i need to post a song here.
GIVING UP DA GUN --- L'HOMME RUN.
you may remember my post about how sometimes the only thing that can truly make me happy is joke rap. relating to this post, this is a college rap ensemble which constituted 3/4 of what is now vampire weekend. i think this song is appropriate, dealing somewhat with the subject of imperialistic violence, but i also think that there is a lot of foreshadowing in this song to Da Greatness 2 Come (some strings and stuff and there's a lyric about vampires). enjoy it.