Modern Vampires of the City Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 51 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 247 Ratings

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  • Summary: Co-produced by Ariel Rechtshaid and band member Rostam Batmanglij, the third full-length release from the indie rock quartet was inspired by New York City.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. 100
    Each verse/chorus/bridge/​intro melody, each lyric straight or knotty, each sound effect playful or perverse (or both)‑-each is pleasurable in itself and aptly situated in the sturdy songs and tracks, so that the whole signifies without a hint of concept.
  2. 91
    When everything here lines up the right way--and it more often than not, it does--Modern Vampires is the perfect album for the coming Atlantic summer. Think of it like saltwater taffy: bright and sweet, with plenty to chew on.
  3. May 9, 2013
    90
    The new record by Vampire Weekend is the best alternative pop album you will hear this year. Unselfconscious, technically brilliant in a way that crucially you will never actually notice, shimmering with beautiful, strange melodies and just a small smidge of actual bonkers.
  4. 80
    It’s time to start thinking of Vampire Weekend not as upstarts but as one of the world’s best bands, because they’ve delivered a trio of great albums in an era when diminished expectations leave most listeners grateful for one.
  5. May 17, 2013
    80
    Modern Vampires quite often touches brilliance, and does so without audibly straining for 'maturity' or pushing hard to be some po-faced Great American Album.
  6. May 13, 2013
    80
    Like art, Vampires is dense; like pop, it seems to float in effortlessly from some place you're sure you've been, but by some trick of déjà vu eludes your conscious brain.
  7. 20
    In the end, Modern Vampires just seems to fade into a dull glow that will still be overshadowed by the band's explosive self-titled debut. [Jun 2013, p.102]

See all 51 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 51
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 51
  3. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. May 14, 2013
    10
    Haters beware. This is the album that change your entire outlook on Vampire Weekend. Gone are the peppy, Afrobeats and Synths that dominated the first two records. Gone (for the most part) are the ivy-leaguer lyrical references. Instead Vampire Weekend gives us their most concise, beautiful, and varied album. Difficult without actually challenging the listener, because the pop hooks are so good. Through and Through it's still a Vampire Weekend album; you can hear it in the "M79" strings of "Don't Lie" or the up-tempo "a-Punk" beat of "Unbelievers," but this album takes those ideas found in previous albums and takes them in interesting directions. There is never a dull moment on the record; the songs continually shift and distort until their conclusion. I can't think of a better album or direction Vampire Weekend could have taken. Easily their best work yet, and quite possibly the album of the year already for 2013. Expand
  2. Jul 10, 2013
    10
    I got so excited for this album to come out! I've listened to it almost 4 times since release! I think this could be their best album overall! Best tracks in my opinion: Unbelievers, Diane Young, Ya Hey Expand
  3. May 22, 2013
    10
    Before Modern Vampires, these guys were a guilty pleasure. Fun and catchy as hell, but phony and often shallow. All that's gone now. What we get is essential, beautiful and adventurous indie pop, sophisticated songwriting and emotional lyrics. Can't get enough of it. Collapse
  4. Jul 12, 2013
    9
    This album takes all the elements about Contra that really developed the band’s sound, and keeps going in that direction while simultaneously, to some extent, abandoning key elements of their original style more something that’s a bit more refined, a bit more mature, and overall another step in the right direction. No matter which album you look at though, one element that runs through all of them to me is how, as broad and sometimes overused as this sub-genre tag is, Vampire Weekend is the absolute epitome of “indie pop”. While always being chock full of catchy hooks & usually having a lot of accessibility, they’re also never afraid to experiment or throw in a few unorthodox elements, and you can always tell there’s a lot of effort & creativity being put into the songwriting in creating these sets of great pop tunes that, while easy to get into, always have a certain bite to them, whether it be with infectious hooks, fun energy or emotional resonance.

    The latter in particular is in my opinion the main improvement of this album in comparison to their previous work: the lyrics & moods. While not entirely devoid of substance, the emphasis of those albums, especially on the debut, seemed to be on just a group of cool upper-class college kids writing fun upbeat pop songs. Which is fine & all, but it seems like on MVotC something suddenly clicked in Ezra's brain that made him really get in touch with his sincere & vulnerable side, and as a result his lyrics became more interesting to read into & possibly connect with. One highly recurring theme here is Koenig’s strained & almost antagonistic relationship with religion, particularly on track like “Unbelievers”, “Worship You”, and more subtly & symbolically on various other tracks that are a bit harder to decode. Even though I’m a Christian myself I can appreciate anti-religious messages as long as they’re handled with a sense of intelligence & class. Fortunately that was the case here. “Unbelievers” is a song that to me can be interpreted in one of 2 ways: either it’s an “atheist love song” of sorts about a couple willing to undergo together the slight sense of shunning in society atheists tend to get for, or from the point of view of an atheist man dating a religious woman & struggling to keep that difference from getting in the way of things too much. Either way it’s a pretty engaging situation to think about. “Worship You” is a much more standard track pointing out valid hypocrisies of some of the worse religious people out there & why some people have a certain level of vendetta against organized religion altogether. Aside from that, other interesting tracks lyrically include the complicated & metaphor-flooded “Step,” which on multiple occasions compares a man’s relationship with his significant other to that of his relationship with his music collection/tastes. One more lyrically notable track is the opener “Obvious Bicycle”, which details a socially bankrupt man with seemingly little meaning to his life pandering to the greedy businessmen of the world to get by. It’s a descriptive character piece that I’m sure a lot of people could relate to in this day & age. Both in the previous cases & with this there’s a lot of sincerity & sentimentality put into the messages, and I hope to see this kind of emotional openness reappear on the band’s future work.

    My favorite track here, and one of my favorite songs of 2013 period, is Diane Young, a fantastically catchy, upbeat & kinda insane conglomeration of sounds that to me sounds like what would happen if Elvis was still alive in 2013 & listened to a lot of Pitchfork-promoted indie rock bands, and maybe an EDM producer or 2. And it’s all done with this carefree & bombastic attitude that I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying to some degree. Lyrically it’s not one of the more overflowing songs substance-wise, but it does have a cute little homophone-wordplay title & some clever lines about living life to its fullest if the titular fate won’t faze you. Going back to how the album is musically though, this album is probably the band at their most creative ambitious & probably at their most diverse, if not at around the same level as that of Contra. However, MVotC seemingly shows a mindset shift in their creative process, thinking more “let’s write a set of great tracks that flow together well” than “let’s see how crazy we can get in this one style incorporating this element here”, though the latter does admittedly pop up on a couple tracks here & there. Still there are definitely changes between tracks, between slow & sentimental tracks, steady mid-tempo grooves on tracks like “Ya Hey” (which incorporates these weird chipmunk-like backing vocals that while annoying at first grew on me a bit), a few that just go bonkers tempo-wise, and the downright creepy semi-closing track “Hudson”.

    One thing’s for sure on Modern Vampires of the City: Vampire Weekend isn’t even close to creatively bankrupt yet. 95/100
    Expand
  5. Feb 5, 2014
    9
    Few albums in 2013 were crafted as intelligently as Vampire Weekend's "Modern Vampires of the City." The album bursts with creativity and technical brilliance. Coruscating and groovy tracks like "Diane Young" and haunting but rhythmically bright tracks like "Unbelievers" and "Ya Hey" both serve as a testament to this album's efforts to not succumb to the popular trends of past musical styles, but instead, carve out its own name (while maintaining the integrity they have established in their past two albums). Vampire Weekend has set new standards that will be hard to beat for any upcoming alternative albums this year.

    FINAL SCORE: 92.5 (almost perfect -----o--------------- perfect)
    Expand
  6. May 14, 2013
    8
    Modern Vampires Of The City is Vampire Weekend's evolution in sound yet again, providing a more chilled, eerie vibe than their past two albums. While die-hard fans of Contra and the debut may find it harder to get into, it's destined to grow on you after spinning it a few times. Expand
  7. Jun 15, 2013
    0
    I love the first 2 albums of Vampire Weekend. They are energetic and spontaneously played! Almost every song makes me move and believe me I am not a dancer. I was looking forward for their 3rd album, the critics were positive... To be honest: it was a great disappointment the first time. I tried a 2nd time; let it rest for 2 weeks and tried a 3rd time. No improvement in my experience. Probably the album has been over produced/thought and the music does not embrace me as the first 2 albums.
    I will continue listening the first 2 albums and try to forget this bad experience. It was such a disappointment that I created a account on this fantastic site to share the thoughts of Vampire Weekend lover with you.
    Expand

See all 51 User Reviews

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