new song saturday: harmony hall / 2021

Written by Donna Borges

On January 24th 2019, Vampire Weekend broke a six year hiatus with the release of a joint single, “Harmony Hall” and “2021.” The band has been teasing the release of their upcoming album titled Father of the Bride since at least 2016 – with the yearly claim that whatever year it was would be the “year of Vampire Weekend.”

The band made the first step of their return in early 2018 when they announced a handful of festival dates and headline shows in California, including shows at the Observatory OC and the Novo DTLA. These were their very first shows in four years, and probably the last time fans will ever see the band play such small, intimate venues. The band made the most buzz when they played their famous “A-Punk” three times in a row at Lollapalooza in Chicago, attracting headlines and giving fans a laugh.

“Harmony Hall” takes a new approach to the classic Vampire Weekend sound, opening with a folksy acoustic guitar riff before being met with the familiar voice of lead singer Ezra Koenig. The chorus brings a contrast with the band’s classic syncopated beats and the angelic synth floating over Koenig’s vocals. The band geniously revisited the lyric in the new single – “I don’t wanna live like this / but I don’t wanna die”- from their earlier song “Finger Back,” the perfect nostalgic surprise for fans. Combined with a gospel choir, the song is the perfect mix of both new and familiar aspects and has been well received by long-time Vampire Weekend fans. Overall, “Harmony Hall” is the perfect song to get fans hyped for the upcoming release of Father of the Bride.

The second song on the single, “2021,” is a change of pace from “Harmony Hall.” It opens with synth and Koenig’s familiar voice before leading into a soulful guitar solo, complete with harmonic melodies. The song ends with the same synth and vocals – this time with Koenig’s floating falsetto repeating the same verse – “2021, will you think about me? / I could wait a year but I shouldn’t wait three / I don’t wanna be / 2021, will you think about us? / Copper goes green, steel beams go rust / It’s a matter of.” These lyrics could refer to every artist’s fear of passing their prime and losing their audience, and may show how Vampire Weekend hopes their fans will still care about them since it’s been six years since their last release. Fame is fleeting, so the band couldn’t wait three more years to return to the scene. “2021” is an example of how potentially diverse the new album might be once it is released, and really shows off how versatile the band is in terms of sound.

Keep an eye out for more singles leading up to the release of Father of the Bride, as Koenig has said that they will be releasing two songs a week until the release of the album. They also recently announced a North American Tour starting in May and closing out in early October, with tickets going on sale Friday, February 8th on Ticketmaster. The tour includes two SoCal shows – October 2nd at the Hollywood Bowl and October 3rd at San Diego State University. Take a listen below:

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