Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rabbit's Favorite Album of 2013

Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City
When I was thirteen, I had a dawning realization that I didn't believe in God the way that I was 'supposed to'.  Coming from a Catholic family, this left me unsure of myself, feeling lost and a little betrayed.  Why wasn't I capable of the happiness and serenity I saw my mother possess on Sundays?  Why couldn't I let go?  What was wrong with me?  I had never questioned God's existence before, but all of a sudden I couldn't believe in him in that way anymore and I had no idea why.  I still went to church; I faked it for the longest time.  There was comfort in that familiarity, even if there was no substance behind it anymore.
Years later, realizing that I was falling out of love with someone I thought I'd be with forever felt Exactly the same.  These looming monoliths--Love and God--color a bigger part of yourself than you'd ever give them credit for, leaving a strange void when suddenly gone.
Ezra Koenig and Vampire Weekend's third album tackles this intersection of faith and love--and ultimately death--with an upbeat melancholy that soars and rages, as Barry Lenser writes, "wrestling with the implications and impossibilities" inherent in everything.  
When Ezra croons, "Want a little warmth/But who's gonna save a little warmth for me?" it could be anything.  God, an estranged lover, parents in a distant city.  The album teems with regret and nostalgia, but is shot throughout with a faintly gleaming ribbon of hope.  On the track "Ya Hey," Koenig sings, "Oh, sweet thing, Zion doesn't love you / Babylon don't love you / But you love everything."  It'll all be alright.

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