Sunday, October 16, 2011

Got a Smile in my Heart and it Spread to my Face

This week’s spotlight band has been on my radar for a long time, actually; but only recently did I break down, purchase their album and fall in love. I can’t tell you exactly when I first heard of Vampire Weekend because they seemed to blow up everywhere all at once, and now they're a college/young adult musical staple. If you know only one of their songs, it’s probably “Holiday” featured on a Christmas-time Target commercial, if I remember correctly, and frequently heard over the Muzak of Starbucks, Abercrombie and other such fine commercial establishments. It may have been this association with the college crowd (especially the fraternity scene) and the commercial explosion of the band that gave me such cause for hesitation, but I tell you what: they are a quirky bundle of fun, and that is not limited only to clean, drunken white collar delinquents as I had previously thought. Their songs are ridiculous with lots of “bloops and bleeps” in the background, as one of my friends complains and have predictable, but peppy beats. I never really know exactly what they’re saying in their lyrics; it could be Spanish for all I can tell, but I never really care either. It’s just plain fun, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I took them with me when I ran my first half-marathon the other weekend (like how I just dropped that in there?) and if asked, I would give them a good deal of the credit for my successful crossing of the finish line.

Despite the mumbling and generally carefree spirit of their music, a song called "Oxford Comma" from their self-titled debut album, betrays the band's Ivy League roots. The four members of Vampire Weekend met and formed the group in 2006 while students at Columbia University. Things progressed rather speedily after that, signing to a label in 2007, releasing their first album in 2008 and a chart-topping follow-up album in 2010.

I’m listening to their second album Contra right now, as there’s a great fall rain happening outside; and the album still seems appropriate. I almost feel like there’s a private joke between my iPod and me that we are not letting the weather in on. There’s a smile growing warm in my heart and it’s thanks to Vampire Weekend. Have a long drive ahead? Not looking forward to a weekend of cleaning the house? Need to do some working out? Take these kids with you.

Photo credit: Søren Solkær Starbird