Vampire Weekend Capture the Pains of Aging on "Capricorn" and "Gen-X Cops"

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BY Alex HudsonPublished Feb 16, 2024

A colleague and I have an ongoing discussion about "homework bands" — that is, artists who competently make music that objectively ticks all the boxes of being "good," yet elicits no emotional response and consequently feels like a bit of a chore to listen to. Dirty Projectors? Homework music. Grizzy Bear? Sorry, but it's homework music.

I bring this up because said colleague insists that Vampire Weekend are homework music. I couldn't disagree more. On the new single "Capricorn," the spacious reverb emphasizes the aching, unavoidable melancholy of growing old and discovering that adults feel just as powerless as kids do. The grinding, harsh distortion that enters in the second chorus emphasizes that inner turmoil.

The distortion returns front-and-centre for "Gen-X Cops," which opens with seasick slide guitar riffs before down-shifting into a more traditionally jaunty Vampire Weekend ditty. But even here, amidst a bouncy groove driven by an eighth-note bassline, Vampire Weekend channel deep yearning, highlighting the absurdity of intergenerational scorn. People love to make fun of boomers for holding back progress, or millennials for refusing to grow up — but "Every generation makes its own apology," with each new cohort of youngsters eventually growing up and realizing they've fucked up the world in their own way.

Complete with videos that show pre-millennium NYC, these Only God Was Above Us singles highlight the passage of time and all the crushing disappointments and bittersweet realizations that come along with it. Homework? Hardly.


(Columbia Records)

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