20080221

Vampires and Patriots


This post is really about Vampire Weekend, I promise. There will be many paragraphs.

I'm going to go out on a limb here. I'm usually the guy who acknowledges the will of the certain majorities of people. I'll generally see a movie if the right critics have approved it or shun one if enough of them have done the same. Ditto with music, I've never heard of it. If enough people love it, I'll check it out. The problem is that sometimes the critics are crazy and sometimes the majority is wrong. From the 2004 election to critical reviews that doomed Grandma's Boy in theatres (it's since been huge on DVD), there are examples everywhere of infallible groups making the wrong call.

For some reason 90% of the people I know hate the Patriots and suddenly became Giants fans during the Super Bowl. Many of these same people loved the Patriots when they won two SB's out of nowhere a few years ago. Hate 'em now. I'm convinced these people hate winning teams in general. Win long enough and people will despise you. People call them the Yankees of the NFL, a sentiment so far from accurate, it's laughable. I hate the Yankees, pompous and pinstriped, pockets bloated beyond capacity. The Patriots have built their teams through shrewd trading, acquiring 2 of the best receivers in the entire NFL (Moss and Welker) for 4th and 2nd round draft picks, respectively. Did you know Randy Moss played for a paltry $3m this year? Did you know that 198 players were taken in front of Tom Brady in the 2000 draft? That "team" is emphasized so much that every year, they let huge-contract-seeking players go and replace them with cheaper players...and get better anyway. I don't understand why everyone I know was so against seeing the first 19-0 team in history, if only to shut up those a-hole '79 Dolphins, still annoyingly relevant. I don't know why everyone suddenly loves Eli Manning, the same guy who was drafted #1 overall by San Diego and essentially said "Eff you, I don't want to play here," and forced a trade to NY, followed by a Rex Grossman-esque season this year prior to the NFL Playoffs. Insult to injury, the Giants won, everyone threw their hands up and pranced around claiming to be right the whole time, completely giddy.

Sometimes the majority is completely wrong in principle and logic, but end up right in the end, somehow.

Which brings me to Vampire Weekend, finally. I don't know if you've heard of them, they're currently omnipresent? Yeah, they're the 2nd-most-blogged-about band on the internet, from New York (obvious), and apparently wildly influenced by African popular music. Thank you Wikipedia. Apparently African popular music sounds near-identical to Simon & Garfunkel, circa 1966. It's a gimmick, it really is.

But I'm not stupid. I know they know it. They went to Columbia University. I know it has to be, at least partially, tongue in cheek. It's playful ("Does it feel so unnatural to Peter Gabriel too?"), and at times, very endearing. I also know I'm a hypocrite. Why do I think it's alright to mimic Hall & Oates (Tigercity), but not Paul & Art? I think it's mostly because, to me, Tigercity modernizes that cheesy but amazing early-'80s pop, while VW really just sounds mostly like a hokie carbon copy. I'm on a limb because I know my buddy Kyle loves this record, along with most every scene critic out there, who love its whimsical abandon and think it's funny to sound like Simon & Garfunkel (something no one has done in a long time).

And I don't hate this record. I immensely enjoy precisely 2/5ths of it and am immediately annoyed by the other 3/5ths. But I was pulling for the Patriots, too. We know how these things can turn out. Enjoy your victory, majority.

Listen:
Bryn
M79
[from Vampire Weekend|buy]

2 Comments:

Anonymous Tully said...

Brilliant post, Drew. The Patriots thing drives me nuts. I share almost identical sentiment. I can understand not liking Bill Belichick... though at the same time I can't because anyone that does their research would learn that it is perfectly legal to videotape defensive signals from anywhere else in the stadium under a few guidelines (i.e. camera must be under a "roof"). Then, in addition, how does not a single columnist or person mention that it is common practice for teams to sign players that have been cut by a competing team - not because they will help the team on the field, but rather because they can provide the whole enemy's playbook? Anyway, I was pulling for the Patriots, and I'm already sick of the smarmy Giant-loving nonsense. If you've watched Eli Manning, well, EVER, you know what's coming next. Ugh. Vampire Weekend is OK, but they're definitely not deserving of the praise they're getting.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VW have a Paul Simon Graceland feel about them, i agree. They don't sound like Simon and Garfunkel, due to a serious lacking in purely acoustic songs. Graceland was released in 1986, not 1966. Simon spent a lot of time with African tribes pryor to the making of graceland, the african influence is obvious. VW guitar section sounds graceland influenced, which makes indirectly inspired by african pop music. gimmick, maybe, hopefully not.

That being said, i have been a die hard Giants fan since 2002. I like the patriots, and for the most part like the fans. I watched the SB with some patriot fans. Victory never felt so good. Greatest upset in the history of the NFL. Legendary. Who would have thought Eli had it in him?

8:51 AM  

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