Throwback Thursday: “Giving Up the Gun” by Vampire Weekend

I feel like Contra was one of the hipster albums, up there with The Black Keys or Tame Impala. This status was confirmed with the Pitchfork stamp of approval as a best new album. Vampire Weekend both leaned into and calcified the hipster world. One of their biggest songs from their debut album, “Oxford Comma,” is pretentious in title and content: who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma indeed. The band has that sensitive, slouchy feel typical of the era that was sometimes described as “metrosexual.” As Matty Healy once said, “I thought that you were straight/Now I’m wondering.”

“Giving Up the Gun” is my favorite song of theirs. It has the hallmarks of that era of indie music: lightly bruising synthesizer, disaffected vocals, and lyrics that describe the futility of trying. I remember being surprised when Joe Jonas appeared as a guest star in the music video. There was always that tension between pop and indie, and when a band or song became a hit, the lines blurred. Does that mean that “Giving Up the Gun” is an ironic comment on the glory days? If so, that makes it the most hipster of all.

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