“Why So Serious?” The 2012 Mixtape – Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” (Teenagers Remix)



Length: 3:39
Originally released on: (original version) Vampire Weekend (January 29, 2008)
Samples: Nick and Norah Clip – “You’re My Musical Soulmate”

Do you want to, like you know I do…

I confess that I’m not much of a remix guy. They tend to oscillate between two extremes: either changing so much of the track that it loses all connection to the original piece, or adding so little new that the whole thing feels pointless. But I’ve got to hand it to the cheeky newcomers in Vampire Weekend for their smart choices of collaborations this year. In addition to letting Chromeo turn “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” into an electro-pop ditty and allowing Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel to tackle “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” the latter track also was transformed into this synth-pop reworking by French band the Teenagers.

I’m not certain if I prefer this version or the original. On first listen, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” was actually among my least favourite songs on Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut, mostly because of how repetitive it is. Over time, though, the glorious keyboard riff won me over, with the support of the wonderfully retro music video.

But the Teenagers remix fits better within the mixtape, I think. More importantly, it feels like it better reflects the 80’s vibe I got from the music video, which is in part what inspired me to pair the track with sound clips from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, a throwback to an era of great teen movies and probably my cinema guilty pleasure of the year (if one believes in guilty pleasures).

Nick and Norah does absolutely nothing unique as a movie, but does it so well that I forgive its lack of originality. Part of its appeal is its leads, as both Kat Dennings and Michael Cera are charming as all hell. Part of it is the soundtrack, to which Vampire Weekend are contributors. But mostly, I think I was a sucker for the film because its “one night adventure” motif taps into something I feel tends to slowly die our when our teenage years come to an end.

As responsibilities replace risk taking, our willingness to venture out into the downtown, to stay up late and see where the night takes us, diminishes. The kinds of spontaneous experiences that defined my undergrad years never quite seem to repeat themselves now that I’m older. Everyone seems to prefer to choose calculation over chance, comfort over unknown consequence, and going to bed early instead of confronting the midnight boom.

I’m not blameless in this; I’m as guilty as anyone else. But spontaneous adventures seem so rare these days that I can’t help but be nostalgic for them, and can’t help but be drawn in by a film that so idealistically and entertainingly presents them. So consider this track an ode to teenage quests, however misguided they may be.

Download: Vampire Weekend – “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa Teenagers Remix” (Infinite Playlist)


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