New Vampire Weekend video is funny, baffling

Apparently when Ezra Koenig and co. aren’t busying themselves crafting effortless-sounding and expertly-crafted pop songs, they’re running with a famous– if mind-bogglingly disparate– crew.

The Brooklyn band’s new video features quite a few unlikely celebrity cameos, and some of the least realistic tennis scenes since the 2004 Kirsten Dunst vehicle, Wimbledon (ok, didn’t see it, I’m just assuming, but I mean they cast Paul Bettany as the lead in a rom-com, how accurate could things possibly be?).

The vid chronicles a tournament of sorts, held in a small white-washed room (tennis court aboard the Nostromo perhaps?), with VW “rockin’ out” to mid-tempo single “Giving Up the Gun” (Not one of Contra‘s highlights in this blogger’s opinion, but a quality song nonetheless).

The protagonist is a spunky young redheaded lass striving to outlast the competition- including a Jonas bro (Can’t tell which, probably the gay one), Jake Gyllenhaal, and even a cocky no-nonsense version of herself (Whhaaa?!!! Howdeydodat??? Thanks technology!) The vid also features the RZA (That’s right, the fucking RZA. In a Vampire Weekend video.) as the coolest/weirdest line judge in history. I should also mention that he’s decked out in full-on Morpheus gear, though I don’t think that’s part of the video, he probably just showed up to the shoot dressed that way. What else would you expect from a dude who’s directly quoted as saying:”Say you’re Bobby Digital, you’re RZA, and your girl fornicates on you—you feel like shit. ‘Who the fuck? How the fuck?’”

The final cameo is less of a head-scratcher (as he was name-dropped in a VW song), and arrives in the form of Lil Jon (dressed not unlike a nautically-inclined T-Pain with smaller hat) as redhead girl’s coach/mentor/inspiration (I mean he certainly inspired these young ladies to display their athletic prowess…salt-shaking FTW!).

Neither the video nor the cameos make a goddamn bit of sense, but it’s certainly never boring, so there’s that. I did have a hard time getting past the fact that the redhead check had clearly never swung a racket in her life, and the even more vexing fact that nearly every effing (i.e. fucking) shot is in slow motion (We get it, you like Wes Anderson, enough already, geez). But Jake Gyllenhaal is legitimately funny, displaying that comic timing that is sure to make Prince of Persia the smash comedy hit of the summer (A white Persian guy with a bad English accent, a mysterious hourglass and a low supply of shirts? Genius!) And props on the RZA cameo, those are usually reserved for Jim Jarmusch films and moderately disappointing Judd Apatow films. Honestly, never in my life did I expect to see the RZA lip-synching lyrics to a Vampire Weekend song. Fucking surreal. Now all that’s left is to wait and see if Lil Jon returns the favor and puts the lads of VW in his next video– they could throw money at exotic dancers in a manner which resembles precipitation! Huzzah!

For comparative purposes, check out VW at their very best with the video for “A-Punk.” It’s simple, infinitely entertaining, and fits the song perfectly: everything a great music video should be. Makes a body downright nostalgic for those good ‘ol days of 2008.

Contra is out now via XL Recordings. You should buy it. You can do that here.


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