The lyric video for Vampire Weekend’s “Ya Hey” — the latest song to arrive from new album “Modern Vampires of the City” — is all popped champagne bottles and fountains of foam. But there’s also protective bibs. And nobody drinking.
The New York band has never shied away from commenting, even sarcastically, at class and youth. Here, there’s also the acknowledgement of “black” music influences (hear gospel? reggae?) blending with their brand of pop and rock as it pays homage to other clashes and melting pots, of the Motherland with the Fatherland, Judeo-Christian imagery mixing with Zionism and Rastafarianism, Desmond Dekker literally (literaturely?) getting mixed with the Rolling Stones.
It’s a playful song, but singer Ezra Koenig has heavier things on his mind, seeming to condemn all the supposed “lovers” of the Divine — even himself. He gets glimpses of God, and is unsatisfied that God himself isn’t fazed by faithlessness.
So all that, together with the typically bourgoise act of squandering perfectly good champagne by spraying it or breaking its bottle? Well, at least rappers get sponsorship for it: the offenders are of all colors and, notably, ages. The visual backing to this lyrical video (even the hilarious extras in the background at 3:15) is about waste. Again, with class and youthful excess.
Now if only I liked the pitched vocal effects buttressing the chorus. There’s a waste of a good melody.
“Modern Vampires of the City” will be out on May 7.Subscribe to UPROXX