Father of the Bride
2019 – Indie Pop
Father of the Bride is escape from the city to the simpler life
Since Vampire Weekend’s previous release, “Modern Vampires of The City”, the American rock band that started their activities in New York City has been going through many changes. While the band was still processing that Grammy that they won and Koenig was being the co-writer of Beyoncé’s “Hold Up”, the members of the group announced that they leaved the XL records and signed with Columbia records and that Rostam Batmanglij left the project. Over the six years, a lot of information was announced, just making the release of “Father of The Bride”, the fourth studio album by Vampire Weekend, the one of the highest anticipated albums of 2019.
In March 2017, Ezra Koenig, the vocalist said that the album would have a “spring vibe”, in fact, that was his wanted to mean. “Father of The Bride” is an Epicureanism album, different from everything that the band did. Since the abandonment of the white frames in the cover of the LP up to the number of the tracks that it’s almost the double of their previous albums, the group showed up with a project that is a Furgere Urbem (from the Latin: escape from the city). The record valorizes the simplicity of the life and the enjoyment of the nature. Koenig also said that the artwork relates to the album’s motif of ecology, and a nostalgia for the optimism of environmentalism in the 90s.
The album begins with “Hold You Now” featuring Danielle Haim. from the American pop band Haim. The first song is an invite for everybody to embark in this travel from the city to the country side. The album starts with simple instruments with simple harmony and arrangements that dances with the birds sounds and super vocal made by different persons in the back that help with the atmosphere of the record. The song is about the instability of a relationship and all the doubts that we have in this situation. With exaggeration of metaphors, the second song, “Harmony Hall” is about the changing your perspective, but also about the hate club that haunt the universities. This track has a personal pinch because in college days of the members, they went through it.
In “Bambina” the group talk ironic about the injustice of the society. Later in this track we have an example of a thing that we will see a lot: a voice records that seems made from a personal recorder. This thing brings the listener closer to the singer. Followed by “This Life” that speaks about life’s betrayals, not only when you cheat on others, but also when you cheat on yourself to try your best not to deal with life the way it is but when you really have to deal with it. “Big Blue”, the fifth track, refers to the submission of the human to the immensity of the ocean and how it has the power to comfort us and make us think.
The pollical opinion is stronger than ever. In “Why’s it felt like Halloween since Christmas 2017?” from “How Long?”, Vampire references to Trump’s policies that started to make impact in population’s life, but also, is about that Ezra is stuck in the past. With the sharp tongue, “Unbearably White” made everybody confused If this song is about the white-people’s ignorance or about the death of a relationship, and in “Rich Man” we almost have a political speech about the economic inequality.
With Danielle Haim again, “Married in a Gold Rush” It’s about the negatives and positives of a marriage, and how you believe you have a perfect marriage, when in fact it isn’t. In the end, they leave all the good stuff, or better, the gold behind to try to achieve a better marriage. In this first part of the album, we have a lot of calm songs about dark themes and in “My Mistake” that is no difference, since it disserts about the trust that Ezra put in some people and in the end, he got fucked.
After “My Mistake”, we start to listen the second half of this record, in my opinion the better one. “Sympathy” uses college parties to references the religion conflicts, while we have a disturbing screaming and hard instrumentation that mix with acoustic period. Having Steve Lacy, a Vampire Weekend’s fan, as a collaborator for “Sunflower” and “Flower Moon” we received two tracks with a lot of Beatles influence. Moving to “2021”, where we listen to a depressed vision of the future and of getting old.
In the last appearance of Danielle Haim, “We Belong Together” it’s a positive love song about how everything will be alright despite the bad stuff. While “Spring Snow” has the same vibe of “We Belong Together”, “Stranger” stage you at your room while all your friends are having fun and you feel dislocated and forgot. “Father of the Bride” ends with “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin” that is a beautiful and almost acoustic songs about you connecting to something bigger than you.
The sound in this record very cohesive. With smooth transition in each track, with more simplistic instrument at the beginning, going up to a more complete background, and a transition between the tracks, with just a guitar at the first track and with more worked compositions in the end, Vampire Weekend created a cohesive, beautiful, well mixed and unexpected sounds. But, while the good combination of the acoustic and digital voices in one track and the strong strings repercussion, this work has too much tracks. I have a feeling that some tracks are disposable.
After six years of “Modern Vampires of the City, “Father of the Bride” is an excellent work. With the political lyrics that mix the simple love songs, that is also great, the background is a beautiful and well-done work of instrumental, harmony and vocals that together results in this incredible album. My only complaint is that the album is too long, not about the duration, but number of tracks. That a lot of track that, besides the meaning, are disposable, however, still an excellent LP.