One of the most recognised metaphorical phrases dictates that we should not judge a book by its cover. Yet, one can be literal and argue that Vampire Weekend’s third studio album Modern Vampires of the City is not a book. Also, because of the close link between the cover art and the content of the 12 songs, we can get away with anticipating the content even before we have pressed play.
A 1966 photo by Neal Boenzi is used, which (according to sources) illustrates the “smoggiest day in New York history, in which the air-pollution killed at least 169 people”. So too this rock album deals with themes of death and despair, yet both the picture and album is eerily beautiful.
Most of the songs have a great hook, after a couple of listens you will definitely be singing along to the catchy phrases. I can only imagine how many choirs and other groups will attempt to imitate the phenomenal harmonies during competition season this year.
Not once whilst listening to the 43 minutes of the album could I make use of my imaginary stripper pole (which is often the case when listening to Hip Hop and R&B). I did however get quite the workout with my one-man-band. Because not only will you be singing along, but the album’s diverse beats will have you playing air guitar, -violin, -drums and piano.
This album puts one on an emotional rollercoaster and because it is not pure rock and also contains some pop features, a more varied crowd has a ticket to access this turbulent ride. Please relax diehard fans, Vampire Weekend will never supply us with bubble-gum-pop (touch wood), yet somehow they have successfully married alternative rock, with definite poppy elements.
This is a testament of their growth; they have metamorphosed musically and are sporting a more mature and adaptable vibe. This album is a far cry from what we are used to from the four-piece band, but it is a move in the right direction.
“I just ignored all the tales of a past life” the boys sing on Step (a very successful single and number three on the album). Though one should consider the following fact about their past that will give you that extra nudge to invest in this work of art: Various sources confirm that Modern Vampires of The City debuted at the top of the US Billboard 200, making it Vampire Weekend’s second consecutive number-one studio album. What’s more, the album was dubbed the Best Alternative Music album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.