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Reviewed: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City


by Caleb Nichols

Vampire Weekend’s third album, Modern Vampires of the City, has already been hailed as the best pop album of the year (and let’s keep in mind that the year isn’t half over). With a metacritic score of 80+ (indicating something called “universal acclaim”), the latest record from the distinctly New York quintet is possibly more hyped than any record in recent memory. But is it any good?

Yes. It is.

The 12 songs that comprise Modern Vampires of the City offer practically nothing to dislike. This may seem like a funny way of saying something is good, but it is certainly an apt method of description on this record; the music is perhaps best described as strikingly non-offensive. There is bubblegum, but not too much. There are somber moments, but not without taste. There are sound experiments which are more intriguing than tiring. The band even wades into something resembling political and social commentary (albeit of the highly personal variety) without coming off as too didactic, condescending, or alienating.

Modern Vampires of the City is chock-full of these really beautiful musical moments — not to say that the songs themselves aren’t satisfying as a whole (they certainly are) but there are these tiny moments in almost every song that you sort of have to listen for where all these elements come together to create something that transcends pastiche or genre, perhaps even transcends Ezra Koenig’s (sometimes) tiring cultural references.

Actually, the only moments on the record that stirred me out of a sort of reverie were the slightly awkward monologues featured on “Finger Black” and “Ya Hey.” These, I could have lived without, but again, they are tolerable, like a college room mate you don’t like, but at least keeps the dishes done.

Seven years into its career, Vampire Weekend has recorded a pop masterpiece; delicate and bold, mature but not boring, tasteful yet not timid.

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