Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.
36. Vampire Weekend – S/T
If I remember correctly, these guys took quite a while to get pretty popular, at least they did by comparison to some of their blogosphere peers who had almost overnight success (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Black Kids). I recollect finding rough demos of “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” on Aquarium Drunkard up to a year before they released this gem, their debut album. I also remember the Paul Simon comparisons being made almost immediately, as most critics are wont to do when they hear anything remotely referential to Afro-pop.
VW were the first to really incorporate the sound into the ever-growing indie pop landscape, however, and they brought the influences to a much younger audience. They dubbed the sound “Upper West Side Soweto,” and indeed it had a small movement of its own, generating bands like Ra Ra Riot, the electronic experiment Discovery, and more traditional projects like The Very Best.
I’m not saying the Simon relation isn’t correct; it obviously is, but to deny the band’s growth from that blueprint is simply dismissive. One listen to the simple pop of the aforementioned two tracks, as well as the stomping “A-Punk” (my personal favorite) and the falsetto friendly “Blake’s Got a New Face,” and you’ll see these guys either were showing all their cards at once or they had healthy knowledge and a palette to grow from. We know now from their great sophomore effort two years later the latter was the case.