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Music to Atone To
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“How long ‘til we sink to the bottom of the sea? / How long, how long?” After a six-year hiatus, Vampire Weekend returned with arguably the most ambitious album of their career, Father of the Bride.  Father of the Bride has its own concept, regarding marriage and marital issues, while also tackling religion, politics, and society.  A perfect example of a song that tackles, and better yet, atones for such ‘transcendent’ issues is “How Long?”

 “How Long?” is packed full of issues and atonable matters, all of which are cleverly referenced.  Frontman Ezra Koenig proclaims on the first verse, “You broke my heart at midnight mass / Now I’m the ghost of Christmas past.” The ‘mass’ portion dives into religion, which is often viewed skeptically throughout the album.  With the A Christmas Carol reference, Koenig’s character has become ‘dead,’ which ironically happened at a place of worship… Hmm.

Of course, Vampire Weekend must also atone for President Donald Trump.  “What’s the point of human beings?” Koenig sings on the second verse, continuing, “A Sharpie face on tangerines / Why’s it felt like Halloween since Christmas 2017?” There’s much to unpack and atone for, whether it’s suspect policies (Trump-ism) or a Christian holiday, Christmas, being tainted by the most pagan, Halloween (religion, again). Atonement continues on the third and final verse, as Koenig seems to tackle the plight of fame, as well as a subject-to-interpretation ‘fall’: 

“Getting to the top
Wasn’t supposed to be this hard
The house is on Mulholland Drive
The car’s on Sunset Boulevard
The registration’s here with me
But neither of us has the key
We can live down in the flats
The hills will fall eventually.”

What are the big takeaways from “How Long?” There’s a lot wrong with the world that needs to be fixed.  Sure, there’s a layer of heartbreak from the marriage perspective of this record, but Vampire Weekend clearly has bigger fish to fry, whether it’s religion, Trump, fame, or other legitimate debatable topics.

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About The Curator - Brent Faulkner

Brent Faulkner - Music to Curator

Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky.  A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles.  In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype ( When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.