There were so many things I had on my to-do list this spring: use my phone less and go outside more, figure out how the hell to get to the Cloisters, replace my daily Google of “Irina Shayk” with “yoga classes near me,” and maybe even creep into the back row of one! None of the things on my to-do list involved what I will actually devote myself to, for better or worse: becoming re-obsessed with Vampire Weekend. I am the living, breathing embodiment of the “Ah shit! Here we go again!” meme. For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, I have found myself (again) with a big ole crush on Vampire Weekend.
Father of the Bride, the band’s first project in about six years, is, unfortunately for me, a perfect album. “This Life” makes me want to wear a lot of Madewell and have at least one extremely tense whisper-argument on the way into a restaurant. I have never wanted to get married more than when I listen to “Married in a Gold Rush.” (I have also never wanted to find myself in a literal gold rush. But get me a pair of cargo pants and one of those goofy bucket hats that has a string tie! Make sure there’s a gold pan and a pickax waiting for me when I get there, to the California gold rush of 1849!) Relationships are exercises in futility, suggests “How Long?” and it’s only a matter of time before my next beau sees that I am little more than a bagel-eating goblin with four pairs of identical mom jeans and a collection of neuroses. And yet, “How Long?” makes me want to bundle all of my insecurities and pursue happiness anyway! It makes me want to take a long, happy-sad look out of a big bay window and contemplate the relationships that populate my life (ideally by candlelight, and ideally in an Andrea Arnold movie). Father of the Bride straddles that impossible VW juxtaposition: the feeling of walking on air into the unknown — toward my eventual demise and the next inevitable heartbreak, probably — and yet looking forward to it all the same.
Once upon a time Vampire Weekend had four members — Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris B., and Chris T. Now that Batmanglij balances solo work with producing and is no longer an official member, there’s an extended universe of singers and musicians in the VW orbit: Brian Robert Jones, Greta Morgan, Garrett Ray, Will Canzoneri. That doesn’t really change anything for me because my big, fat Vampire Weekend crush has always been on the collective. These were cute Columbia boys singing weirdo songs about punctuation and melancholy and being little list-makers. They blogged! Their music was on Gossip Girl! And look at me today, at my big age: scrolling through the internet reading every word I can right-click on about this band; once again I am thinking about how Sperry boat shoes might not be that bad, in a very narrow and specific set of circumstances.
On Sunday afternoon I went to their all-day, three-set show at Webster Hall, perhaps the most biased setting on which to base this declaration: The Vampire Weekend–aissance is upon us all! “I will wreck Rashida’s home,” my friend Michael whispered to me, referring to Ezra’s new West Coast life shacked up with partner Rashida Jones and their baby, during the day’s second set. The band played Father of the Bride in its entirety, and somewhere in between “Sunflower” and “Stranger,” I came to the conclusion that this album has no right to be this good, especially considering the title changed from the much more Vampire Weekend–y Mitsubishi Macchiato to the title of a 1991 Steve Martin rom-com remake. (For the record, I really thought that FOTB would stand for Fans of the Bodyguard (1992), which I would’ve preferred.) Father of the Bride is so grossly buoyant, so utterly delightful, that I absolutely cannot wait to see what mistakes I make when I listen to this music, if only to maintain the brand consistency of my 15-year-old self, back when this crush first developed.
I have already begun making these clumsy mistakes, the kind that happen when you decide to skip out on the group Lyft and stay out a little later, leave the office early to go on a walk, or treat yourself to an extremely bougie lunch delivery. “Bambina” makes me want to be carefree, but it cautions me against being careless. “Stranger” makes me want to stitch together small memories because I’ll never be this young again. “Unbearably White” makes me want to let one single, dramatic tear fall down my Fenty-covered cheek. Last weekend I existed entirely on tequila and “Harmony Hall.” (I’m not proud of this, but it is nice to press play on a Vampire Weekend song and not worry about getting caught underage drinking in the back of someone’s pool house or in someone’s dorm.) Listening to Vampire Weekend again feels all wrapped up in the dumb-fun memories of me being 17, with that feeling of hopeful promise: the insane lies I told when I broke curfew, the homework I turned in late because I decided to act an absolute fool on Tumblr instead of writing my foreign-policy paper, the selfies my friends and I exchanged when we left campus during our free periods to pick up nuggets from Sonic. Vampire Weekend was the first band I listened to because I read about it in a magazine. It was the first band I stopped listening to because a boy told me he thought we’d outgrown them, that they sounded sophomoric, that Ezra wasn’t even that good at playing the guitar. (Hello, Kyle Scheible, a.k.a. Timothée Chalamet in Lady Bird!)
Anyway, a new Vampire Weekend album makes me feel nostalgic, but it also makes me feel optimistic about my future, a little excited to see how I will absolutely make a fool of myself this spring because they’re back, so is my crush, and so am I.