Vampire Weekend has been successful in indie music since the get-go because of their unique sound and poetic appeal. The band even broke through to reach commercial success as they were a top-tier act at Lollapalooza 2018. However, the band has not released any recorded music since 2013.
To many, this lack of releases was concerning since most bands experience their renaissance in their mid-20s. Time has been ticking away as they’ve prolonged releasing music. On March 6, 2019, Vampire Weekend released “Big Blue” as well as “Sunflower,” a collaborative track with rising star Steve Lacy.
Adding Steve Lacy was an intriguing move by the band, considering his critical acclaim in production value and potential in revolutionizing R&B with soul and funk. The music community’s eyes were on both Vampire Weekend and Steve Lacy to release something big and when they caught wind that they were planning something together, they expected greatness.
But, according to this music lover, the track falls short. The issue is the awkward clash of genres and unsuccessful compromise in the middle. The song opens with Steve Lacy laying down a deep, low bass riff with an oddly up-tempo Vampire Weekend style. This interesting sound is followed by a forgettable vocal accompaniment.
“Sunflower” is by no means a bad song but considering what could have been done between a handful of artists considered to have a knack for soulful sound in their respective genres, the song did not meet its potential. It is difficult to identify whether the artists would not compromise on their intended sound or if they all compromised for a sound none of them necessarily felt.
The song has reached some commercial success, in part due to the big names circulating around it including Jonah Hill, who worked on the music video with the artists.
Despite the odd approach taken to “Sunflower,” the band hit it out of the park with their track, “Big Blue.” This is the song Vampire Weekend fans wanted out of them. A track that screams genuine feeling between its poetic lyrics, casual synth and emotional guitar bends.
“Big Blue” defies the old Vampire Weekend sound by accentuating an acoustic vibe rather than high production synth sound.
Vampire Weekend has done wonders with the genre they found themselves in and continue to defy the sound they’ve taken on. To anyone who has not listened to Vampire Weekend, the old or new version, I would highly recommend sending your attention their way. Even songs such as “Sunflower” that provide a new sound that can be received extremely well or poorly create diversity in the music community that should be encouraged.
The beauty of Vampire Weekend is that they are not afraid to try a new style. Their album, “Father of the Bride,” will give us a better light into their future plans and provide context for the singles. Either way, they are a band that will continue to revolutionize the music community.