Please Welcome the Inevitable Vampire Weekend Critical Controversy


Back in the heady days of right-around-this-time, 2008, this paper ran competing reviews of the debut Vampire Weekend record. “Please Ignore This Band” was the headline on one; “Please Ignore the Embroidered Dog Sweater” was the headline on the other–a positive take, that one. Plus we reviewed quite favorably the band’s newest, Contra, just recently, so please forgive us as we get out of the way of critical infighting that is belatedly breaking out over Vampire Weekend’s sophomore record. It sort of started here–Jessica Hopper’s “Appropriation, Vacation”–which contained some provocative words about Contra (“it’s stocked with cheap imports, a bit too sure of itself, and trying to bullshit its way out of trouble,” say), plus a riff on a phenomenon Hopper calls “the Pitchfork-nation equivalent of ‘Some of my best friends are black.'”

Then actual, authentic Pitchfork-nation critic Nitsuh Abebe stepped out on Hopper, in a piece titled: “Jessica Hopper should be sort of ashamed of herself, in my opinion.” You can imagine. There was further back and forth. Then VW singer Ezra Koenig joined in himself. We’d say more but we don’t want to get struck by lightning. So instead, allow us to recommend Jon Caramanica’s attentive and astute riff on the band in the Times, which is the one we basically agree with, although please please please do not make a categorical argument about us due to that fact. And after that, perhaps we can all agree to write about another record entirely. It’s almost February, after all.

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