Song of the Day: Vampire Weekend, “Hannah Hunt”

You guys didn’t think I’d forgotten about the new Vampire Weekend album, did you? It’s been on pretty continuous play in the car since it came out in May. Considering I’ve put over 30,000 miles on my car in less than two years, it would be an understatement to say I spend a lot of time in the car. (Margot might actually be able to drive to Dallas of her own accord one of these days; yes, my car is named Margot.) I often times feel like I need to drive around with an album for it to fully sink in. Thus, the wait in posting more songs from it. I sometimes do my best thinking in the car. I also get some of my best writing ideas while driving, something that my summer class was concerned about when I mentioned it as part of my writing process. They envisioned me trying to write while operating the car, and since they already have a good idea about my lack of coordination, they were deeply concerned for my safety. Not to worry. I don’t actually write in the car. But it’s a good place for chewing over an idea, feeling out its rhythms and how it would sound on the page. Music and writing are intertwined for me, as this blog attests to, so it’s perhaps not surprising that I mull over an album the same way I mull over an idea for an essay. All of the mixes I made for the now defunct cd club were thought out/drafted in the car. The last, unsent one is still one of my favorite mixes. (And yes, Dan and Walter, if you want a copy, I’ll make you one.)

As my friend Walter said in his own review of Modern Vampires of the City, the band has grown up on this album, and I think “Hannah Hunt” is one of the standout songs on the album. It’s a bittersweet confection; it’s slow beginning sections opening up at the end as something both joyous and defiant flies out of the song. Vampire Weekend has long reminded me of Paul Simon, an easy comparison to make because of the Afro-pop inflections in the music, but really, it’s the lyricism of the band that makes the connection for me. Simon’s Graceland masters this blend of broken heartedness, joy, defiance, and movement. This song encapsulates those elements.

 

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