Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend (2008)

I still remember where I was when I heard about this album. I was sitting in a course called Advanced English Composition and we were all reading The New Yorker together.

To improve our writing that semester, we all had to subscribe to The New Yorker and read it for examples of good writing. At the time, probably like many of the people in the class, I thought this magazine was the pinnacle of American culture. Not now. (The New Yorker is emblematic of a certain kind of American culture, but not broadly.)

Anyway, in the music section of the magazine, there was an early review for this album, Vampire Weekend's self-titled. It's hard to describe music, so in the absence of being able to convey sound in print, the reviewer did a fair job of convincing me that this album was cool, this band was cool, and if I listened to this album, I'd be one of those cool people listening to cool music. In short, the review did everything good advertising and propaganda ought to do. It said, "You need this product."

Then the professor voiced what I and the other students must have been thinking. "Wow, this sounds like a really cool album," she said. "I think I'm going to buy it."

So I didn't buy it. To this day, I don't know what about what she said persuaded me not to buy it, whether it was that I realized the review was advertising or whether I felt ashamed to have had it work on me the same way it had a professor a couple decades older or whether I just felt ashamed in general that we were all sitting around with this magazine open thinking that if we partake of the products it tells us to buy then we too will be part of highbrow culture. Middlebrow culture, really.

I don't like this album.

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