It’s been ten years since indie rock band Vampire Weekend released their successful and influential self-titled debut album, and Rolling Stone Magazine has an interesting article about the recording and its context within the indie music scene of the time. Although the record is now seen as a classic, at the time it made a lot of critics angry because the band, all of whom graduated from an Ivy League college, tended to dress in preppy clothes, which was seen as uncool and elitist. The record’s musical merits, however, were many and even those who thought that the band members were spoiled rich kids agreed.
Interestingly, the band wrote a manifesto to guide them on the project. Some of the rules they set for themselves were not to use distortion and not to include any trip-hop music. This didn’t impress classic rocker Alice Cooper, however, who said the band was too intellectual and wimpy for his taste. The article also mentions the fact that, while the band was accused of being made up of wealthy sell-outs, they actually recorded the record by themselves using pro-tools on a Macintosh computer
According to Rolling Stone, the creepy photo of an antique chandelier dangling over the heads of a crowd on the cover of the album was actually taken at the band’s first gig. They played at a hall on the Columbia University campus that is notorious as the meeting site of secret societies and the location of numerous wild parties. When the record was released, the photo helped give the act a slightly sinister and mysterious vibe. .
In conclusion, this article is an excellent look at an album is important and often misunderstood. It’s a must-read for fans of the band.