Ezra Koenig Discusses The Origin Of The ‘Not So Great Pop’ Song He Wrote For ‘I Think You Should Leave’

While it was a mostly quiet year for Vampire Weekend, fans got a bit of new Ezra Koenig material via a song in Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave. Koenig didn’t appear in the episode’s credits, but the vocals were unmistakably his and he did nod to the track at the time. Now, he has talked about the song and its origins more extensively.

Koenig chatted with Mark Hoppus on his After School Radio show on Apple Music and said the song was meant to be something like a watered-down version of Frank Ocean and Bon Iver:

“Basically through the producer, Akiva [Schaffer] from Lonely Island, and I’d met Tim Robinson before over the years. He’d come to a show. I was a huge fan. He’d always been cool. And then, Akiva hit me up just saying, ‘Hey, the guys need a song for the next season of the show. Could you do it?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ Anything for that show.

We got on the phone with them and they basically wanted not a bad pop song, but kind of a… They played me references and stuff for what they were looking for, and they already had some lyrics. So, it’s not like they were wanting a song that sounds like me or Vampire Weekend, they just wanted to know if we’d have fun with it. The best way I could describe the kind of music that they were looking for is pop music that came two or three levels after Frank Ocean and Bon Iver. The kind of not so great pop music that was very influenced by that music. I don’t even know how to describe it. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but I was like, ‘OK.’ So we got the assignment and then I did it with my boy, Ariel [Rechtshaid].”

The main takeaway from Koenig’s appearance on Hoppus’ show, though, was that Vampire Weekend apparently has nearly an album’s worth of new songs.