CC Analysis: Did Vampire Weekend Go Too Far?

“You torched a Saab like a pile of leaves/I’d gone to find some better wheels”

These are the first lines from Vampire Weekend’s newest single, “Diane Young.” So what is so controversial about it? Nothing whatsoever, until you view the music video for the song. Warning: NSFW. Not because of the graphic content, however. I’m just concerned some of you might howl in anger once you press play and upset your fellow coworkers. You’ve been warned.

So here we are. Yes, you just watched a video that solely consisted of Saabs dying by fire. Has the age of the internet matured to the point where a stunt like this seems fresh? I’m not sure, but my gut instinct is telling me this was wrong.

Vampire Weekend have always had a bit of an iconoclastic streak in their music. You would have to search for it though. But that is the point, isn’t it? Some music should be obtuse, and a band that has been labeled as only appealing to white, “over educated” males in their mid-twenties would probably fit that bill anyway. So is it any surprise that the cars they sing about and burnt represent the bourgeois culture they inhabit?

Also, for the purposes of full disclosure, I must admit that I too, am white, “over educated,” and in my mid-twenties. Therefore, I like Vampire Weekend. I followed their rise from obscurity to Saturday Night Live musical guests. I even went out and purchased their music instead of pirating it.

So I’m torn. Burning classic cars like these Saabs seems wrong, but do we have to agree with artists all of the time? No, and I’ve seen worse excuses for  art the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Have you also thought about the fact that these Saabs were penned by a designer looking to make a fashion statement? That means we have a case of art being burned for the sake of art. How’s that for post-modernism? I have a feeling that’s what the band was going for.

In any event, lead singer Ezra Koeing has expressed remorse for what the production company did. But what say you, commentariat? Did the band cross the line with this stunt?