Debate: Who Will Listen to Vampire Weekend First?

By Jake and Glenn 

Vampire Weekend are probably the most famous band to come on the music scene in the past year. Neither Jake nor Glenn have yet listened to them at this point, but this - like America's dependence on foreign oil - cannot last forever. Vampire Weekend could be guitar based or electronic based, new wave or no wave, post-rock or post-punk. We are as uncertain as Sophie when it was time for her to make a choice. Jake is as familiar with Vampire Weekend as he is the legislative process and Glenn knows more about how to make a longterm relationship work than he does indie rock's best band of 2009. Who will crack first? Who among the two of them will break down and finally see what all the hype is about?

Jake: I am going to have to insist that Glenn will be the first of us to listen to Vampire Weekend. I listen to a far greater amount of new music than he does, and so far have avoided Vampire Weekend. I just feel like I won't like them and nobody has ever recommended Vampire Weekend to me.

While it's true that Glenn doesn't often listen to many new bands, he does listen to popular bands. Vampire Weekend was number one on the Billboard chart and you can't get any more popular than that. Glenn also usually dates younger women and men, and they tend to be people who listen to indie music. I'm pretty sure Vampire Weekend has an "indie sound." Glenn told me that he recently has been listening to Phoenix, so logically he'll be listening to Vampire Weekend in no time.

Glenn: It is true that I do not always stay up on the newest bands the way that Jacob does-- until I found out I might be going to Coachella this year. This is due to the fact I don't usually download music illegally and that there are many "classic" albums I've still yet to hear. How can I listen to Vampire Weekend when I haven't ever heard in their entirety Abbey Road, Marquee Moon, Surfer Rosa or Zeppelin IV? Since Jake has heard all of these albums (and co-produced Surfer Rosa) there's no ethical quandary to him busting out the new Vampire Weekend. Also, Vampire Weekend formed in Hammond, Indiana where Jake lives. How can you turn your back on a hometown band? That would be like Dennis Rader not listening to Nirvana!

Jake: Vampire Weekend is actually from New York, which is much closer to Glenn's heart than mine. Glenn has even been to New York. He visits Maddie there, and she naturally loves her hometown band, Vampire Weekend. It is likely that Glenn has heard VW without knowing it. I can assure you that I have never heard them. I never listen to the radio, I only watch music videos on the internet and I have not seen a single episode of Life with Liz, which is a show that may or may not star members of Vampire Weekend. Regular OYIT readers will know how much Glenn's life revolves around Life with Liz. I have listened to all of the classic albums Glenn has listed, and I'm not even really a fan of any of them. If Vampire Weekend is the culmination of all of those albums, why would I want to listen to it?

Glenn: No no, let me clarify. I did not mean to imply that if you took all the vinyls of the aforementioned albums, chopped them up into little pieces and melted them back into a record that they would become Vampire Weekend's self-titled LP. What I mean is that I have all of these mental blocks in place before I could ever consider listening to Vampire Weekend. I take Jake's point about not being exposed to music, but the same is true for me. I'm not 45 and I don't listen to the radio. Sure I watch tons of videos online but they're almost all Taylor Swift. The fact that you know where Vampire Weekend is FROM while I don't even know for sure if they're actual vampires is all the more reason I think you're on the road to listening. They could have been played on My Life is Liz, but I would know it since MTV has a thing now where they tell you during a show what song is playing. I've never seen VW on there, though I have seen a very realistic portrayal of high school life in Texas.

Jake: I looked up Celebrities from Hammond, Indiana up on Wikipedia and saw that Vampire Weekend was absent from the list. Then I looked at Vampire Weekend's hometown on Hometown notwithstanding, I am no longer even arguing who will listen to them first, I am arguing that Glenn has already heard them without even knowing it. I downloaded the most recent Vampire Weekend album to see what all the much-to-do was about, but I very quickly deleted it. That was the closest I will ever get to hearing them on my own. Obviously an incident could occur where I'm at somebody's house or car and they play VW. This is unlikely because I am a hermit.

Glenn: Jake can compare himself to Howard Hughes all he wants but the only thing he has in common with him are the jars full of urine in his basement. Speaking of, Jake also told me his favorite song was "Howard Hughes Is My Co-Pilot," which I believe is a Vampire Weekend b-side. I made that last fact up - as I also made up that Vampire Weekend are from Hammond, IN. Sometimes you have to lie to make points in a debate, just like you have to lie to get elected to Congress. This doesn't change one indisputable truth: I have never heard Vampire Weekend. I don't know what they sound like, who their influences are, or if they threatened to leave the United States if George Bush was elected in 2000. For all I know they weren't even born in 2000! Most of the readers of this site weren't. Jake admitted he downloaded the VM album and says he "deleted" it but probably only sent it to the recycling bin. Then, much as my parents did with my first crib, he probably pulled it out of the trash, cleaned it up and rocks/thumps/sways to it every night. The smooth R&B sounds of their self-titled album can drown out any screaming baby.


  1. this is SO funny. i feel like i've been saying that a lot l8ly, but everything has been so funny l8ly! as for VW, i own their first cd and am not crazy about it. i'm not going to buy their second. and i kind of feel the same way about new music as glenn does. i just didn't realize i did until he said it so eloquently. but you've never heard all of marquee moon?!

  2. Glenn, I'm pretty sure I have played VW for you including the new album last time you were in town. Jake wins that one.

    Jake, I have been tweeting a lot of VW, and how I put them in a playlist with Paul Simon's Graceland and The Sierra Leone Refugee All-Star's first album. Consider that a public recommendation that, of course, included you.

    I can also identify with Glenn's resistance to new music. I struggle with the same issues, but I think it stems from my childhood and Christian Rock. I was under so much pressure from my mom to buy albums that praised God and Jesus that I would have a nervous breakdown just thinking about buying Nirvana, Blink 182, or Green Day! Thanks to the internet around the time i was in junior high, I was able to acquire their seminal hits. Listening to them was like a post-praise service therapy session and is probably the main reason why I am an atheist today.

    wow. long comment!

  3. i can't wait to see who breaks first, i just can't!!

  4. This was one of the best deb8s I ever had the pleasure of sitting through and reading every word of. I was moved and inspired to not listen to Vampire Weekend 1,000 times more than I had already planned to not listen to Vampire Weekend.

    I was also taken aback that Gary and Sue "rock[ed]/thump[ed]/sway[ed] to Glenn's/your trashy crib as this visual has confused my brain.

    I hope you both get together for the first time in twenty-five years and listen to VW together to bring a beautiful end to this feuding story of Glenn's love life.


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