Arts, Music, Review

Vampire Weekend, Kyle Field Trade Suffering for Sunshine in ‘This Life’

At best, our one chance of escaping life’s many varieties of pain and suffering is to cheat life, at least according to Vampire Weekend’s “This Life.” Composed of black and white shots of a day in the California desert, the music video released on May 20 is the perfect complement to the ironically upbeat Father of the Bride track.

The video opens with an introduction from Little Wings’ shaggy Kyle Field, who takes on the role of Wade, a Palm Springs Uber driver whose first customer is Father of the Bride collaborator Danielle Haim. Much of the video is filmed like an indie movie montage with panoramic shots of Field skipping through the desert and close-ups of Haim as her hair blows in the wind.

Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig channels the song’s sharp-witted cynicism by taking on a day-walking Dracula persona for the video. Koenig broods while singing along to the song’s chorus in the backseat of the classic convertible and glares intently at the camera while strumming a guitar at the head of the table at a Passover Seder. Jonah Hill, who directed the “Sunflower” video that featured Jerry Seinfeld himself, and Mark Ronson also make appearances at the dimly-lit outdoor Seder.

Like the song, the events of the video come across as warm and natural. It appears as though Emmett Malloy, who also directed the effortlessly 90s video for “Harmony Hall” earlier this year, discovered a treasure trove of personal Snapchats from Koenig and his famous company and sprinkled in artistic pans to Chris Tomson drumming. It’s hard to imagine that the final scene of the video—one in which Field stands to make a toast and tearfully admits, “I’m kind of a loner, but I’m also sort of a people person”—is anything other than a candid outtake.

If we’re going to try to cheat through “this life and all its suffering”—to steal a playfully pessimistic line from the song—we can only hope to do it half as authentically and as gracefully as Koenig and his ragtag gang of artists in “This Life.”

Featured Image by Sony Music

May 23, 2019