One of the reasons I never really liked the TV-series ‘Girls’ was Hannah Horvath. As a character, Hannah Horvath just wasn’t authentic. She played around with emotional (and physical) exhibitionism, but never really touched it, never really went to the other side. No matter how painful or humiliating the situations she found herself in, there was always an element of ‘look how great I am to do all this’. There was no real shame, pain or humiliation, just someone who time after time showed us that she was above us, mortal individuals, and that we would also reach that elevated state maybe, someday.
I’m sensitive to this type of (non-)authenticity. I felt the same with Sex & The City and Friends; scratching the surface of human relations and social norms without really digging into it. Maybe it has something to do with American (Television) culture, after all who wants to be a real loser n a culture that is so much dominated by winning as the ultimate guiding principle. Loser don’t secretly win, not in real life.
Which brings me to vampire Weekend and their brand new album ‘Father of the bride’. I liked Vampire Weekend in 2008, just after their self-titled album. Sure, it was all very derivative, you could hear Talking Heads and Paul Simon in practically every song, but it was fresh, new and stealing is not a bad thing, if it’s done right. Their second album, ‘Contra’ (2010) was disappointing, just more of the same, less inspired and definitely not new anymore. I pretty much forgot abound the band after that.
But now there’s ‘Father of the Bride’, and a whole army of music critics just stop short of calling it a masterpiece. The album (and the band) is being described as mature, inventive, unconventional, brilliant, focused and even consciously ‘unfashionable’. I listen to it and have no clue what all these critics are talking about. The music is not that different, it is still very much the Vampire Weekend sound, and as far as lyrics go, I just hear a band trying very hard to be smart, even intellectual.The album is not connecting with me on any relevant emotional level, and is frankly very long and boring.
Like Hannah Horvath Vampire Weekend manages to stay away from the point where it really gets interesting, the point where musical and emotional dissonance starts and you really run the risk of alienating your listener. I love failed attempts, failure is so much more interesting than success, but I wonder: was it even an attempt?.Tweet