Fearless by Taylor Swift!
A highly contrasting album with bright, happy sounding music and dark, heavy lyrics
The American Indie rock band “Vampire Weekend” recently released their fourth studio album “Father of the Bride” recently in May 2019 through Columbia Records. This is their first major project after six years since their previous album “Modern Vampires of the City” was released in 2013. This is a pop-rock and indie-rock album having a diverse range of musical influences from American traditional folk music and jam bands, in addition to strong straightforward lyrics- a contrasting mix of pleasant music and dark, heavy lyrics. The album has a total of eighteen tracks with an overall approximate time lime length of fifty eight minutes. However, three more bonus tracks have been added in the Japanese edition. The album has mostly received positive reviews from the music critics and listeners. The Rolling Stone magazine and AllMusic bothrated the album 4.5 out of 5 stars with the RollingStone calling it a “masterpiece” and Allmusic described the music in the album as “most mature and satisfying”.
Several other newspapers like The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Guardian including the music journalism website NME rated the album 4 out of 5 stars. The New York Times praised the contrast between bright music and dark lyrics, while a review from Variety added- “inventive, often brilliant ideas delivered with little concern for how palatable listeners might find them”. In more mixed reviews, Pitchfork said that the album was somewhat overlong, but praised the new musical direction rating it 8 out of 10. A review from the American music magazine Spin argued that this album is the band’s worst, yet rewarding. But overall, the reviews were mostly on the positive side as the album received an aggregate score of 82 on Metacritic.The album had gained commercial success as it had hit the music charts all over the world, debuting at number one on US Billboard 200. It was featured in several other charts in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, peaking at number two in the United Kingdom and number three in Portugal.
Influenced by several other music stylesthat were relevant in different times of history
Vampire Weekend “Harmony Hall”
“Harmony Hall” is the second track of the album. The song’s title has the name of an undergraduate dormitory at Columbia University, where the band formed.Being a mix of country-soul and indie pop genres, the song is often compared to Paul Simon’s music and Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey”.The piano grooves and percussions are influenced by British dance-oriented rock music, raves and 1980s Madchester music, while the piano and strings are influenced highly from the Baroque music style, an old form of western music that was relevant in the 1600-1750s era. The sweet-sounding track is contrasted against the heavy, dark lyrics that incite a feeling of dread- “And the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness/ Anybody with a worried mind could never forgive the sight/ Of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified/ I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die”. Most music critics praised the upbeat sound with rich guitars and piano rifting, along with the contrasting lyrics. The song comes with a music video directed by Emmett Malloy which features the band as well as several guest appearances. The song reached the number one spot on US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard) and number five on US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard). Moreover, it was featured on the charts in other countries like Scotland, Belgium and New Zealand.
Another highly contrasting song with happy sounding music and lyric that speaks of sufferings
Vampire Weekend “This Life”
“This Life” is the fourth track of the album which the front man Ezra Koenig co-wrote along with the American rapper Makonnen Sheran and the English-American musician Mark Ronson. This is also a highly contrasting song with lyrics that speaks of spiritual uncertainties and sufferings against a sweet-soundingupbeat pop-rock music with bright guitars, handclaps and percussions. The song has a reference to Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains in Southern California” in the opening part- “Baby, I know pain is as natural as the rain/ I just thought it didn’t rain in California/ Baby, I know love isn’t what I thought it was/ ‘Cause I’ve never known a love like this before ya”. Due to the song’s highly contrasting nature, it received positive response from most critics and has been described as the band’s best work till date. Pitchfork praised the effective storytelling and the bright music, awarding it the title of“Best New Track”. Also, Loud and Quiet described the songwriting as unique and addictive.This song also comes with a gray scale music video that is directed by Emmett Malloy, which shows Koenig along with several others riding through the Californian desert and arriving at a Passover Seder, a Jewish ritual feast. Being one of the best songs in this album as described by critics, the song was featured in music charts across the United States, United Kingdom and Belgium.
A proggy, psychedelic jazz-funk song
Vampire Weekend “Sunflower”
“Sunflower” is the twelfth track of the album that features the American musician Steve Lacy. This song sounds a lot different from the others as the genre is characterized as psychedelic-soul, jam rock and jazz-funk.The proggy psychedelic track comes with matured lyrical content- “Sunflower in the morning/ Standing in the garden/ All before you wake/ No power can compel you/ Out into the daylight/ Let that evil wait”. A Pitchfork article commented on the composition- “Koenig’s love for the Dead and Phish is obvious in the proggy bass scales that open the track, the frantically curling guitar licks, and even… the harmonized scatting that’s done in unison with the instruments. It’s kind of like Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” by way of Guster”. “Dead” is referred to as the American rock band Grateful Dead, and “Phish” is another American progressive rock/ psychedelic rock band. Rolling Stone said that “Sunflower” is the most “weirdly grooving” trackthat was released in advance of their album release. The song comes with a catchy music video directed by Jonah Hill who appeared in the video of “Harmony Hall” as well. The song reached a peak position of 24 on US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard) chart.
Picture source : https://genius.com
Maroon 5 – music album
Mind of Mine by Zayn Malik – music album
Soulbyweekly collaborates with VIBBIDI, a music streaming platform!!