As we all wind down from the epic performances of Coachella weekend, the only way to listen to our favorites from the festival’s lineup is on repeat.
“Contra,” the latest album from Vampire Weekend, quickly became a hit after it was released January 11, 2010, and reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200. For good reason too — the upbeat dance sounds just invite listeners to cheer the fuck up and enjoy the sounds they’re hearing — something us students could use right now with all the negative UC vibes we’ve been dealing with.
The sounds of “Contra” differ relatively dramatically from those of their first self-titled album, “Vampire Weekend,” released in January of 2008. Their debut album was more indebted to punk and alternative influences, while “Contra” has a buoyant sound more similar to pop. In other words, I challenge you to listen to it without getting up and dancing like crazy.
The biggest hit and first single from the album, “Horchata,” makes college kids want to drop everything, hop in their ’91 Volvo station wagon, and road trip to Mexico. Or maybe that’s just me. Listening to this song since January has had me anticipating summer and everything it entails almost torturously. Vampire Weekend has somehow perfected the art of making listeners travel to far away, warm places with their lyrics.
Vampire Weekend is one of our generation’s ultimate college bands, with lead singer Ezra Koenig belting out the soundtrack to student’s lives. His unique voice and appealing lyrics turn any drunken — or hey, even sober — emotional college moment into a happy memory.
Another track from their latest album that sends me to distant, pleasant lands is “Holiday.” It’s impossible to stay in study mode when listening to this track during the school year. Whatever holiday you may think this song pertains to — Cinco de Mayo, 4/20 (that’s an official holiday now, right?), your birthday — it psyches you up and makes you ready to celebrate.
It’s undeniable that a lot of popular music these days sounds pretty similar and repetitive. In an age where Justin Bieber, the Black Eyed Peas and Miley Cyrus rule the charts, pop music clearly lacks a certain sense of originality. That’s what sets Vampire Weekend apart — we haven’t heard it before. “Contra” presents us with an array of sounds and styles that we don’t see very often. It is what I want my college experience to sound like. If you can listen to “Contra” without thinking of dancing in the sunshine, painting your face, sipping cool drinks, and sporting a sunburn and a Moleskine notebook in your hand, then I feel sorry for you.