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Vampire Weekend + Graceland = BFF

By David Ritter | 3 July 2008

Top Five Strategies Members of Vampire Weekend Employ to Deflect Questions about the Overwhelming Influence of Graceland on Their Entire Being. (And yes—these are real quotes.)

5. Interview for SF Station:

Strategy: Deny ‘till you die

“Actually, I think our album has a wider breadth of sound, and I would hope people would listen to all 11 tracks and have more references than Graceland when talking about our music. I think it gets overplayed. When you look at our album compared to that one, I think it would be hard to find two tracks that even sound alike. There are plenty of songs on the album that are pretty devoid of any African influences.”

4. Interview for Transparent Magazine:

Strategy: Blame your small-minded fans

“I think it’s this focus that has led to many comparing your sound to _Graceland_-era Paul Simon, is this a comparison you like?”

“At first, we were ok with it, but now it’s starting to feel like an incomplete and lazy comparison. Sure, we’ve listened to Graceland and, like Paul Simon, we’re interested in African music but the majority of our songs sound nothing like Graceland and even the ones that may have a similar vibe are ultimately pretty different. Graceland is a lot of people’s only point of reference for African music so it’s easy for them to pretend that it’s the fountainhead for anything influenced by the sounds of such a gigantic and diverse place.

3. Interview for REAX:

Strategy: Pretend not to be that into it

“Seriously, how many times have you listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland?”

“Hmm. My parents didn’t have a cassette tape of it when I was a kid so I’ve probably listened to it less than most 23 year-olds. I was, however, able to have a comparable experience a few years ago when I was on tour with Dirty Projectors. Dave Longstreth bought a copy of the tape for 25 cents on the street.”

2. Interview for GIGWISE:

Strategy: Celebrate diversity

“For a lot of people when they hear a certain African sound the first thing they think of is Graceland. Which is good for Paul Simon but unfair to thousands of other musicians. I think he did a really good job of fusing different sounds together on that album, but it’s just one example of many albums that really took different things and made something new and fresh out of it.”

1. Interview for Sound of the City (a Village Voice blog):

Strategy: Finally Own Up To It

“How many people in the band own a copy of Graceland?”

“I think we all do.”