Lyric videos. To me, having a lyric video means being a mainstream well-liked band that is trying to cull an anthem or radio-hit from an upcoming album. If you were to search “lyric video” on YouTube, for example, you would be unsurprised by what appeared: Demi Lovato, Jason Mraz, Adele, One Direction, Rihanna, Taylor Swift… the list goes on.
I’m not saying I despise these singers – come on, who can hate on Adele? – but they, or should I say, their producers, certainly have a certain goal in mind when creating lyric videos.
It’s this context that caused me to be suspicious when I learned that Vampire Weekend had three new videos out for their pre-release marketing and two of them were lyric videos.
I knew the group, now on their third album and well past their Columbia years, was trying to become more popular, but this seemed to be antithetical to their image. What, the band that included a picture of the St. A’s house chandelier on their first album? A lyric video? Please – they had to be above lyric videos.
So I clicked tentatively, but as I often am with the band, I was pleasantly surprised.
The two videos – one for “Step” and one for “Ya Hey” – are almost aesthetically flawless. Both videos read like moving versions of their three album covers. De-saturated and minimalist, well-deliberated and just a little melancholy. Just a little bit eclectic (old people with champagne, kids with basketballs, a sole question mark), but not enough to detract from the feeling that someone put a lot of compositional thought into it all – so much that they wanted to make it look easy.
The typeface, the kerning. The video clips themselves. I am taken completely by them. There isn’t much else to say other than go ahead and watch them, and ask yourself the same question I wonder myself: Why are these called lyric videos? Are there other music videos coming? If so, do they really need to?
If this is the level of composition and curation we will see out of lyric videos in the future, I am all in. And if Vampire Weekend is selling out, they’re at least doing a good job of sticking to their previous visual aesthetic.
So listen up old lyric videos: we are never ever ever getting back together
There is a new standard.
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