Vampire Weekend Give Upbeat History Lesson About Cruelty Through the Ages on New Song ‘Classical’

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Vampire Weekend. - Credit: Michael Schmelling*
Vampire Weekend. - Credit: Michael Schmelling*

Vampire Weekend make sense of how historical examples of cruelty have become “classical” with time on an upbeat new song, “Classical.” The song comes off their upcoming album Only God Was Above Us, due out April 5.

Between frontman Ezra Koenig’s catchy, squeaky guitar melody and Henry Solomon’s wild saxophone solo, Koenig sings about war, peace, and abandoned ruins of temples, describing history as “a bleak sunrise.” The music sort of falls apart at the end, on purpose.

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The video, directed by Nick Harwood, leans on the past by presenting the band as though they were shot on a VHS camcorder. The treatment looks greasy as the group sings the song, their image superimposed over classical paintings and street scenes from Europe. They even show the green screen.

The track follows the release of two Only Gone Was Above Us tracks, “Gen-X Cops” and “Capricorn,” which came out last month.

The band will hit the road in support of the album next month with a special gig in Austin on April 8, timed to a solar eclipse. After a couple of festival appearances, they’ll launch a lengthy North American tour with plenty of dates scheduled to run into October. Some of the artists who will support them include Turnstiles, the English Beat, Cults, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Ra Ra Riot, and Mark Ronson, among others.

Additionally, the group has launched a new podcast, Vampire Campfire, which finds Koenig talking with bandmates Chris Baio and Chris Tomson around, you guessed it, a campfire. The first episode, titled “The 4th Wave of Ska,” is on YouTube now.

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