In commemoration of their third LP, “Modern Vampires of the City,” we’ve put together a list of the best Vampire Weekend songs from their storied five-year career. So: Boil up some Darjeeling, iron your collar and get ready to tell us how wrong we are as we count down to number one.
10. Mansard Roof
Let’s start with the song that kicked off Vampire Weekend’s first, self-titled LP. The song throws cello, Afro-pop electric organ and architectural lyrics at you in the first 10 seconds. In other words, it’s a perfect introduction to the band circa 2008, not to mention one of that album’s better songs.
9. Diplomat’s Son
Here, the ostensible story of the lyrics—a coy narrator falling in love with the son of a diplomat circa ’81—are charming, but more so as an accessory to the tropical, M.I.A.-sampling backing track. On “Diplomat’s Son,” the groove, keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij, is the focal point—and it’s a beaut.
8. Oxford Comma
“Mansard Roof” might have been the band’s idea of an introduction to their music, but odds are, you heard “Oxford Comma” first. Like “Mansard Roof,” that Afro-pop organ is in full effect, lightening the blow of drummer Chris Tomson almost hip-hop snare-and-rim beat. Referencing Lil Jon and the United Nations in one go, this song served as a sort of microcosm of the world of Vampire Weekend back when they first hit the airwaves. It’s one of those love/hate songs wherein you know what side you fall by the first chorus.
7. Everlasting Arms
It’s a rare song that comes off as beautiful, somber and groovy, but that’s just what you get with “Everlasting Arms.” It’s one of the band’s most shiver-inducing tracks, thanks to its sweet, simple chorus and almost tangible bass, one you’d wait for and hope they’d bust out at a live show.
6. The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance
Regardless of its defeatist nature, the chorus “The kids don’t stand a chance” has a kind of cathartic feel when screamed out in a crowd of concert goers. Vampire Weekend has a habit of ending their albums on a somber note and this track, with its blubbering surf guitar and slow, funked bass, fits the bill as the most down-tempo of that LP. As it’s final track, “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” reveals some of the band’s fatalist leanings they explore in full in their subsequent albums.