Monday, October 6, 2008

Vampire Weekend and Tea

So, at this point, everyone has gone completely nuts over Vampire Weekend, and there has been indie backlash (as there usually is in the cases of meteoric rises to fame in the "indie rock" world). Many have noted the obvious Paul Simon influence (I think they took a cue from Mark Mothersbaugh's solo work, and Wes Anderson's directorial influence can be seen in their video for Oxford Comma -- very appropriate given the similar cultural milieu that produced Anderson and his usual scorewriter, Mothersbaugh), but have any of you dear readers noticed their connections to tea?

These preppy Columbia-educated rockers seem to partake of the stuff rather regularly, but still seem to be lacking in their knowledge about it. In the video for "Mansard Roof," they relax and play music on a sailboat, taking time out of their navigation around Manhattan and New Jersey for tea in their Brooks Brothers casual wear.* They are clearly enjoying the salty air and the (most likely) tannic brew, but do they even know what they're drinking? (OK, OK, yes, tea... But beyond that!)

In the lyrics for "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" they actually say, "English breakfast tastes like Darjeeling." What?!?! No, it really doesn't! Sure, both are black teas, but beyond that there isn't much similarity. English Breakfast was traditionally a blend of Assam and sometimes strong Ceylon teas (later on), but now is generally a strong, astringent brew that most enjoy with milk and sugar. Darjeeling teas, on the other hand, are typically either delicate and floral (first flush) or complex, with muscat notes (second flush), and neither benefits at all from milk OR sugar (in my strong opinion). They are not similar at all. (This goes way beyond the Coke-Pepsi debate, I tell you. It's a whole other level of difference, more like Coke-Sprite.) Perhaps they're overbrewing the Darjeeling? Or overpowering both with milk and sugar? (Maybe they should take one of my tea classes!)

Of course, on the positive side, their fans are looking more into tea when they look into the lyrics. SongMeanings.net included comments like, "english breakfast and darjeeling are both teas! i just learned that today." I wonder if any of them will actually try the Vampire Weekend-endorsed teas, and perhaps even notice that they do NOT, in fact, taste all that similar. We can only hope... :)

*The Guardian has an amusing take on the video.

2 comments:

Steph said...

Love this post! And yes, they should take your class!

VeeTea said...

Thanks, Steph!