The deafening silence from the band seems less intentional and more like time just got away from them.
A few days ago, Ezra announced the schedule for the build-up to the new album; known only as FOTB. Two new singles every month for 3 months until the album is released. Giving just enough of a hint to keep fans going, he gave the initials of the songs in each set, “1. hh/2021 2. s/bb 3. tl/uw.” For what it’s worth, he also apologized for the album taking so long. The deafening silence from the band seems less intentional and more like time just got away from them.
Today, the floodgates opened when Vampire Weekend announced new singles, “2021” and “Harmony Hall.” As an added bonus they gave fans a 12-hour mix of just the guitar riff from Harmony Hall (with some easter eggs at 20:21 and 1:33:22). The teaser art looks like something straight out of an episode of Ancient Aliens, with a mix of symbols in what look like crop circles.
Now that “2021” and “Harmony Hall” are out, it’s obvious that the wait was well worth it. “2021” is a sample-heavy, layered electronic-leaning track. It’s about planning the future with a loved one, perhaps written for Ezra’s girlfriend, who he’s starting a family with. It’s short, only about a minute and a half, with smooth vocals punctuated by a sharp ‘BOY’ sample. It’s a clean and precise song.
“Harmony Hall” is almost entirely the opposite of “2021.” It’s long at nearly five and a half minutes. It’s more like a jam song, with different instruments coming in and out, all tied together by the ascending and descending melody. Some of the lyrics are familiar, they’ve been featured on band merch from the summer tours and the chorus calls back to “Finger Back” off Modern Vampires of the City. The song is a bit scattered. At some points there are gospel backing vocals, sometimes there’s just piano over the beat, and at other times there’s a full-on jam session. This song could be Vampire Weekend flexing their musical range and could serve as a bit of an overture for the album. Together, these singles show that there is a lot of different music on this album. Coming in at 18 songs and just under an hour long (per Ezra’s post) this is the album we’ve been waiting for. For now, enjoy these two singles and hopefully, we’ll have two more next month.