Sometime sophomore year of high school, 2013
“A-Punk” plays on the radio while my friend Elizabeth and I are driving back from a high school tennis match.
The following month
I’ve refused to listen to anything but Contra for this whole period of time.
The rest of high school
My confusion with being a person of color in a predominantly white high school, love for the Polo Bear, lust and disappointment with life and fascination with Futura are all manifested, fostered and finally made sense of through Vampire Weekend’s lyrics and work.
Freshman year through the first half of sophomore year of college
I don’t listen to Vampire Weekend as religiously as I did during my formative years as an angsty adolescent who hated her suburban hometown, but they remained part of the background music of my life throughout the years.
The winter of sophomore year
I move to the Upper West Side of New York to complete a fashion internship. This is my first real time living in New York City. The Vampire Weekend love comes back stronger than ever.
September 3, 2017
“80% done but the last 20% is always the hardest,” Ezra Koenig tweets in response to freshly baked pie asking him the status of the new album. I’m starting to get a tad restless for new music.
The rest of junior year
I buy an Amazon Alexa because I decide to take a natural language processing course and could not be more excited about the subject matter. My roommate and best friend Sophie is ready to throw it out the window and to this day still has nightmares with my voice saying, “Alexa, play ‘Don’t Lie’ by Vampire Weekend.”
May 27, 2018
The new album is 94 percent done, according to an Instagram comment.
May 30, 2018
94.5 percent done, according to an Instagram comment.
August 4, 2018
Ezra Koenig announces that the new album is done and in the process of remastering at Lollapalooza. I’m finishing an internship in New York, this time in media, and am excited to enter my final year of college with the prospect of having a new Vampire Weekend album as the soundtrack.
August through October, senior year
I don’t remember any life-rattling Vampire Weekend news during this period of time, but I’m eagerly soaking up all the University has to offer. My time is split between struggling through an upper-level economics class I didn’t take either of the prerequisites for, trying to impress my photography professor who I grew to idolize, other miscellaneous coursework, my senior thesis, and, of course, wasting as much time as possible with my dear friends Joe and Bennet.
November, senior year
Joe and Bennet rue the day that I discovered the “Can I Get Witcha” and “Oxford Comma” mashup sometime during this month.
Winter break, senior year
It’s finally begun to sink in that my time in college is ending — cue periodic existential crises.
January 2019 (still winter break, finally the new year)
I continue to regularly stress about the imminent doom of becoming an adult, but I finally enroll in classes for the last time. I’ve learned by this time to choose classes based on professors rather than just the subjects. It took me four years to finally figure out how to navigate Cornell, but hey, I finally did it.
January 17, 2019
I come back to Cornell to get started on my thesis again and prepare for the start of my final spring semester. Also on this day, a crucial Instagram post is shared, detailing a plan to periodically release songs from the new album and its initials: “FOTB.” Finally. I can’t wait for my final semester of university ever to be filled with the beautiful new music of this band I have loved for so long, I think.
January 22, 2019
I take up a position as a columnist for The Sun. Joe suggests I call my column “Vampire Weekly” and make a subtle Vampire Weekend reference in every piece. “I’m not obsessed, geez,” I tell him. I choose to name my column after “This American Life” melded with part of a Thoreau quote, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”
January 24, 2019
In the middle of a typical Ithaca blizzard, I walk to English class finally listening to “Harmony Hall” and “2021,” the first released songs of the album.
February to March, 2019
Nothing but job interviews, life stress, thesis work and friends. And of course, the Ithaca cold. Still awaiting the new album.
Vampire Weekend announce a show in Buffalo at an old restored church. I go with Daniel and Bennet and feel elated for the chance to see them in such a small and intimate venue where they even take requests from the audience. At the concert, Ezra Koenig explained the last time they played in New York State was during a Bernie rally in Washington Square Park.
May 3, 2019
The album is finally released. It’s my last full week of classes.
May 6, 2019
I’m writing my final column (past deadline, sincerest apologies to my dear editor). I never think too hard about the title “Father of the Bride” until now. I think of the old Steve Martin movie. I think of the bittersweet feeling that it must be to be the father of the bride. I think of how I waited this whole year for an album to come out, eager to have it in the background of my senior year, and it finally came out, at the exact end of the year.
Now that it’s out, bittersweet is the only word I can find to describe it.
Anna P. Kambhampaty is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected] This Imagined Life runs every other Monday this semester.