Like Ariel Pink, Vampire weekend are one of those bands that I would best describe as ‘polarizing’. I’m amazing at the hatred they seem to inspire from people who are not even that aware of modern music. People’s objection seems to be based on the middle-classness of the band members and their appropriation of musical styles from across the world.
I’ve heard people describe that this shows their sense of ‘entitlement’. How dare they take African licks! Who do they think they are!
Well I’ve always found this word ‘entitlement’ strange because usually it’s a substitute for the word ‘confidence’. You need a sense of entitlement to do anything. Politeness is not usually a quality possessed by the great. Imagine a polite Sex Pistols or a considerate John Lennon.
Simon Reynolds in his excellent book ‘Retromania’ argues that Vampire Weekend represent and interesting form of contemporary music in the internet age. Music based on a massive appropriation of styles from the last fifty years from hip-hop to Afro-pop to rock to house that is only do-able in an age where we can instantly get access to these forms through the web. By cherry picking from so much of the worldwide past they are able to create something impossible to do anytime but now.
There music may not necessarily be ‘original’ per se but it is at the very least contemporary