Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vampire Weekend “White Sky”

Often, when we’re considering songs for rotation at mvyradio, we’ll talk about the artist’s story.

Is there something that will give the record context, or make it interesting to talk about on the air?

“What’s this band’s story?” This question might have any of these answers:

a) The artist has an interesting backstory. Like, “Carla Bruni? She took the lyrics from the poems of people like Yeats and Dickenson. Oh, and she’s was the mistress and is now the wife of the Prime Minister of France”

b) Something interesting/important/tragic/fortunate happened to the band while they were making the record. Like “Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King” was made in the wake of Leroi Moore’s passing, and has his spirit all over the record

c) There are interesting intra-artist connections: “It was produced by T Bone Burnett!” “John Mayer wrote a glowing record review of this in Rolling Stone!” “They were invited by Martin Sexton to be his touring band!”

Often, these stories are part of the narrative of the band.

But of all the stories attached, rightly or wrongly, to a band, I don’t think I’ve ever had a story like Vampire Weekend’s. Strangely, the prevailing story about this band has to do with how much some people hate this band.

From NME: Lord knows they have their detractors, but whatever you might think of them, the simple fact is Vampire Weekend are now one of the most unique bands on the planet.

From The Boston Globe: An unabashed pleasure and then just as quickly bashed for its hipster cachet, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut touched down like a Texas tornado in 2008.

From The Chicago Tribune: Only in the file-sharing era could a band suffer a backlash before its first album even came out.

From Pitchfork: Considering the ferocious objections to Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut, "Horchata", and the rest of Contra, is brave music.

And these are the professional reviewers, who have to present some level of objectivity and decorum. Delve into Blog-world, and the word “ferocious” only scratches the surface of the level of distaste some have for the band.

Can you hear this song, without hearing the story in your head? Is it something we should be playing?

See this previous post, for details on how a song gets into rotation on mvyradio, then let me know what you think.

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