In a Rolling Stone interview published in January, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig divulged that he was momentarily panicked by Post Malone and Swae Lee’s hit single, “Sunflower,” saying, “We have a song on this record called ‘Sunflower.’ God, we have to get this out!” With all due respect to Vampire Weekend’s “Sunflower,” Malone’s song of the same name is definitely the more popular of the two, considering that it topped the charts in multiple countries. Even now, five months after its release, it’s still No. 2 on the most recent Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The band appeared on the latest installment of BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series, and since artists customarily perform a cover during those sessions, Koenig and company knew what to do. For their cover, they chose to perform Malone’s “Sunflower,” and their rendition took the song in a new direction. While Malone’s song is a lush modern hip-hop track, Vampire Weekend’s performance was more Van Morrison-esque, with hints of jazz, gospel, and rock. Their performance wasn’t quite a straight up cover, though, as they incorporated guitar melodies from their “Sunflower” after the first chorus, as well as melodies from “Harmony Hall” after the second chorus.
The band also performed “Harmony Hall,” so listen to both performances and the interview here, with “Sunflower” beginning at 2:12:32, or find an audio embed of “Sunflower” above.