Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig was the last guest on the Song Exploder podcast. Together with host Hrishikesh Hirway, he discussed with the bride's father about "Harmony Hall" and his years of incubation process. After sharing an embryonic voice memo recorded in 2011, he goes through a series of takes that have been recorded over the years and include baroque and classical rock styles. Producer Ariel Rechtshaid shows up to discuss his contribution. And Koenig delves into the political themes of the song. Check it out below.
Koenig analyzes his texts and contrasts his discovery of several former slave plantations called Harmony Hall with the associations of the term with utopian movements. He says that the idea that another implication – that Harmony Hall could represent the White House – became apparent before Trump took office, meaning "received additional feedback as we worked on it".
The first verse of the song tells the stories of people outside the chambers of power, he says. The second represents the dangers of concentrated energy. Koenig explains: “A lot of people wanted to read this song specifically with regard to anti-Semitism because I am a Jew. And I think anti-Semitism and Zionism as well as all aspects of Jewish identity undoubtedly fall into this larger category that we are talking about, namely the cycles of power. The idea that stateless people would form a state and is now understandably seen as the powerful in the driver's seat. So I would not say that this song is particularly about being Jewish, but especially because I am a Jewish person, when I think about the cycles of history, it will of course be one of those that I think of , "
Regarding the poetry "The crooked hands of a sponsor" he continues: "When I think of this sentence, I only think of the past and the shame and as sometimes of the rulers – regardless of their background or their ethnic origin Belonging – although they have more power than before – they may make decisions based on fear due to trauma or shame. In a way, this is one of the drivers of these vicious circles that we have as human beings: People are often attracted to power because they lacked power at some point in their lives. Why wouldn't you feel drawn to power if you didn't have it? But if you've been traumatized and feel anxious, it's no surprise that you still see yourself with such power as shameful and anxious. It's a tough combination of strength and fear. "
Read more about Father of the Bride in Pitchfork's list of the best albums of the year and Modern Vampires of the City in our 200 best albums of the 2010s.