"Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything."
This track is just like….I’m so sorry.
From the opening keyboard, you just know that it’s going to be about something terribly sad, and it is. "Hannah Hunt" describes a failed relationship—but not just any failed relationship. One that could have been the one.
Ezra sings softly on the first verse: "A gardener told me some plants move, but I could not believe it ‘til me and Hannah Hunt saw crawling vines and weeping willows as we made our way from Providence to Phoenix." The beauty of these lyrics is their hidden meaning. Not to get all English-teacher-y, but providence, in addition to being a place, is usually seen as some sort of protective grace—whether from God or love or elsewhere. A phoenix, on the other hand, is something that rises from death, flames, and ashes. The relationship described in “Hannah Hunt” starts out as the type of relationship everyone dreams of—one of love, trust, and a sense of “you and me, we’re in this together.” By the end, though…
I have two favorite lines in this song, and one of them is in the first verse: "A man of faith said hidden eyes could see what I was thinking. I just smiled and told him that was only true of Hannah as we glided on through Waverly and Lincoln." When you think you have “the one”, they know seemingly everything about you..and there’s a distinct feeling that only they do. Warnings from people about the perils of love, or insistence that someone else might know “you” just as well are met with a knowing -“oh but how could you possibly understand” smile…You’ve got your person, and they know you like no one else does. It’s only true of Hannah, so to speak.
The song develops as though it’s some sort of dream or lost memory; the wispy keyboard, soft drums, and longing guitar evoke a scene framed by clouds or haze—ideal for the storytelling of the lyrics. This is one of those tracks where the lyrics match perfectly with the music.
Ezra continues to describe he and “Hannah’s” travels from Providence to Phoenix, and at first, nothing’s amiss. It’s another hidden line, at the end of the second verse, that tells of their ending: "I walked into town to buy some kindling for the fire; Hannah tore the New York Times into pieces." New York T/times here has a double meaning—sooo clever, Vampire Weekend—-as heard in the next line. Hannah tears the ‘New York times’ of their relationship-all the memories, trust, and love that they made on the East Coast- into pieces, and betrays her lover’s trust. What now?
The next line of the song is its climax: "If I can’t trust you, then damn it Hannah—there’s no future. There’s no answer."
It’s possible to love someone dearly, but no longer trust them. This is the hardest kind of love, I think, because, as Ezra puts it so succinctly: that kind of love has no future, and no answer. You can’t have a relationship with someone you can’t trust. The “Hannahs” of relationships never realize truly what they’re breaking by figuratively “tearing New York Times to pieces”.
It’s never just a thing that happened once. It’s not just a mistake. It means everything. This type of trust-shattering blunder is the type to end friendships, relationships, and marriages—no matter how strong they seemed initially. Something that once seemed to be as unmoving as a plant (to go back to the first verse), shows itself to be as fragile as a newspaper. Once the damage is done, it’s done.
The climactic line is repeated over and over as the music intensifies. Even as it increases in tempo and volume, there’s still a forlorn, melancholy tone to it; a sense of the profound loss of something magical. There’s no future. There’s no answer. When things like this happen, they’re terribly, profoundly sad.
This song is beautiful. And I really like it.
Spot on. My favourite song of the year.
-Carrie Battan on Vampire Weekend’s Hannah Hunt, Pitchfork’s 3rd best track of 2013
Sidenote: The basic idea of the song Hannah Hunt, which Rolling Stone, SPIN and Pitchfork consider as MVOTC’s centerpiece, started almost seven years ago. It is a song that Ezra started playing on an acoustic guitar in his dorm room at Columbia University.
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2013 has been a great year for music listeners. Here are my ten favourite albums this year.
I buy every album Thom Yorke makes. While AMOK lacks the emotional intensity I like from Yorke’s work with Radiohead, it certainly has good electronic tracks that I like.
Personally, The Next Day is the Bowie album that introduces me to David Bowie. Listening to its leading single "Where are we now?" this January piqued my interest of the legendary artist, and very soon I was submerged in the back catalogue of his; Ziggy Stardust, Station to Station, and of course, the Berlin trilogy that in my opinion has the most beautiful ambient materials I have ever heard (try "Moss Garden" from ‘Heroes’). Back to this record. I like all of the singles that have been released so far, especially the James Murphy remix of Love is Lost (Hello Steve Reich mix by James Murphy for the DFA), which is absolutely punchy, catchy, and some “Ashes to Ashes”.
Compared to Blake’s self-titled LP, Overgrown is certainly more accessible, yet still retains the deep gloomy sounds. It starts strong with the first few tracks, and unfortunately the ending is forgettable, to say the least.
When I first saw the album cover I thought they were Hannah and the co in TV Series “Girls”, and that feeling of mine permeates through my listening of this album. Poppy, but with good rock instrumentation, Days Are Gone has some really good pop tracks unlike the usual pop songs we usually heard, with more depth and focus on the overall presentation rather than the vocals.
I love the title track “Reflektor" when I first heard it on Youtube, where they premiered their single. Produced by one of my favorite producer James Murphy, it is certainly more dancier than previous Arcade Fire release and the sound of the songs are so South-Americanish (reminds me of the music in Haiti) that I think they achieve what Paul Simon has done with Afromusic in Graceland. However, I think the album is a little long, and towards the end it gets slightly boring IMO.
Unlike “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, Yeezus is primal, simple, and gory. I love “Black Skinhead”, “New Slaves”, and “Bound 2”. In my opinion, it lacks the cohesiveness in MBDTF that made it so great (in fact, it’s my #1 in 2010). Instead, Yeezus is a collage of good hip-hop songs that are ahead of its time.
While this album has been sitting in my iTunes library since released, I didn’t went into it seriously until November, where I started rediscover the good music this year. The thing that I like about this LP is its catchiness embedded in a retrospective way, bubbled with vocals that I think sounded very much like the dance track in the 80’s and 90’s (my favorite track here is Voices, featuring Sasha Keable). I love this album so much that I felt like dancing groovily while I was commuting. Why go to the club (which most play shitty pop dance music) when you have a copy of Settle and speakers in home? That pretty much sums up my feelings with this release.
Oh my, oh my. When I first listened to this I thought it was so different from their last two LPs, which the sound I like, and the first few listens didn’t really went well. However, once I got past through the “I love the Afrobeat in Contra” phase, the album really started to grow on me. The black-and-white mysty NYC album cover really depicts the tone of the music here, darker, grounded in more solid instrumentation. My favorite track here is “Hannah Hunt”, located at the middle of the album, which tells a story of a girl named Hannah and the car trip the singer and Hannah went through. I loved the latter part of the song where the beautiful piano playing kicks in and Ezra Koenig shouting in parallel. It is also my #1 favorite track this year.
I was very excited when the duo behind Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Man, announced a record deal with Columbia earlier this year. I knew something huge was coming. Indeed, in the several months that followed, the duo released snippets of their new song, most notably the mega-hit this year, Get Lucky, to the press and also some very interesting The Collaborators Video, where musicians like Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, and even Panda Bear were featured. While not as forward-thinking as their previous Discovery album, RAM certainly goes back to where it all got started, using mainly live instruments instead of computer samples. As a result, the music felt warm at times, which I like really much.
Never has someone blended rock and psychedelic with electronic music in a catchy and danceable way. The project duo, Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, are the first one to do that. Many critics have called the record “Floydian”, and it is certainly true, especially in the closing track “Metatron" where the guitar riff is so nostalgically beautiful, resembling some of the tracks in the Pink Floyd records. My favorite track here "The Only Shrine I’ve Ever Seen" has a nice flow from the beginning to the end, with building ups from the intro to the long, silent outro that seems to engender a visual scenic of visiting a Japanese temple, with white-robe monk and huge golden bells and of course the SHRINE at the very end. Conceptually similar to the music video of Kanye West’s "POWER”, by removing the Greeks and Angels and replacing them with Zen Temple and Austere Monk, you have yourself a video for this track.
I can listen to this album from the beginning to the end with no sign of boredness, and this can’t be said for the rest of the albums in this list. Psychic is unequivocally my #1 favourite album this year.
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