Song of the day: Vampire Weekend’s “Unbelievers”

My favorite song from my favorite rock album of the year–maybe my favorite pop song of the last five years. Granted, I haven’t heard that many of 2013’s albums. But this one speaks to my frustrations about God or more specifically a specific subset of His followers. It soars, lyrically and musically, even though it’s intensely cerebral and questioning. And that rhythm section’s enough to make anyone a believer, despite Ezra Koenig’s uneasy protestations otherwise. In this albums, he’s figuring out a path toward goodness, love, and moral responsibility (perhaps) without the presence of God, which the American evangelicals (even the young hipsters at Relevant Magazine) say is impossible, which would be news to the ancient Greeks, dozens of major philosophers, and, oh, anyone with an ethical brain. Koenig’s path isn’t my path–I’m a Christian but I’m probably a Christian existentialist–but a path’s a path. Like Xgau said about VW’s frontman on the Man Upstairs, “Koenig claims no permanent victory. Too smart. Too much a man, too.”

 

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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