May 3, 2013

Song Review: Vampire Weekend's "Ya Hey"


Yesterday, Vampire Weekend’s live BBC Radio 1 session featuring six new tracks off the festival juggernauts forthcoming effort Modern Vampires of the City (due out on May 14th on XL Recordings) ended with AS’ candidly observational proclamation that if you’ve heard one VW song, "you've more or less heard them all." Now, don't get your Topsider laces in a knot, my friends, because that shouldn’t at all be taken as a diss to the Brooklyn darlings -- It's just that they’ve been wearing their brand of Afro-rock-meets-guitar pop unapologetically with finesse since 2008 much like they do their classically chic hipster-prep fashion sense. “Ya Hey,” the third preview off the LP, highlights the discussion. Its title might suggest Outkast in reverse, but instead it's perhaps the moment of realization that Ezra Koenig's lyrical prowess has been promoted to the forefront of these familiar sounding tunes of gentle anthemic symphonica, with his coy wordplay adding a new sense of value that begs you to re-think their potential and perhaps take a look in a mirror, too. "Ya Hey"'s squeeky chorus line is more than just fun-with-production-effects, and rather a way for Koenig to work around the Jewish religion's word for God (which technically isn't to be spoken) and save him from committing artistic sacrilege as he confronts the duality of a good and evil, the existence of a higher power and how God could possibly love this world with so many faithless naysayers -- Himself possibly included. Skeptics of VW are prone to slinging mud at the band for trying to sound too smart for their own good, yet, "Ya Hey" is a powerfully reflective piece of songwriting for a youngish band whose songwriting beholds a new found wisdom in its message despite their unseasoned age. Vampire Weekend's sound may be preaching to the choir, but with their words reaching for something bigger than that, it shows that you can have your indie pop and indulge yourself in a deep thinking deconstruction of it, too.

Vampire Weekend - "Ya Hey"

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