Oxford Comma (song)

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"Oxford Comma"
Single by Vampire Weekend
from the album Vampire Weekend
Released May 26, 2008
Recorded 2007
Genre Indie pop, baroque pop
Length 3:15
Label XL
Producer(s) Rostam Batmanglij
Vampire Weekend singles chronology
"A-Punk"
(2008)
"Oxford Comma"
(2008)
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
(2008)
Vampire Weekend track listing
  1. "Mansard Roof"
  2. "Oxford Comma"
  3. "A-Punk"
  4. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
  5. "M79"
  6. "Campus"
  7. "Bryn"
  8. "One (Blake's Got a New Face)"
  9. "I Stand Corrected"
  10. "Walcott"
  11. "The Kids Don't Stand A Chance"

"Oxford Comma" is the third single by Vampire Weekend, released May 26, 2008, from their debut album, Vampire Weekend.

Song title and meaning[edit]

On January 28, 2008, Michael Hogan of Vanity Fair interviewed Ezra Koenig regarding the title of the song and its relevance to the song's meaning. Koenig said he first encountered the Oxford comma (a comma used before the conjunction at the end of a list) after learning of a Columbia University Facebook group called Students for the Preservation of the Oxford Comma. The idea for the song came several months later while Koenig was sitting at a piano in his parents' house. He began "writing the song and the first thing that came out was 'Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?'" He stated that the song "is more about not giving a fuck than about Oxford commas."[1]

The song's lyrics contain multiple references to rapper Lil Jon (claiming that "he always tells the truth"). Lil Jon sent Vampire Weekend a case of crunk juice as thanks for the name check,[2] and a friendship formed between Vampire Weekend and Lil Jon that would pan out into Lil Jon's cameo in the music video for "Giving Up the Gun". Also mentioned is the city of Dharamsala, the city in exile home of the 14th Dalai Lama ("the highest lama"), who is the current Dalai Lama.

Music video[edit]

The video, featuring Beau Cole and directed by comedian Richard Ayoade, premiered June 20, 2008, on FNMTV. The concept behind the video was for it to be filmed in one long take — similar to the band's video for previous single "A-Punk" — with unified visual and musical aspects. The video drew heavily on impressions of the works of American filmmaker Wes Anderson. According to Koenig, "It's nice that now we're at a point where we have more resources and we can talk to the director."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Pitchfork Media writer Mark Richardson said "Oxford Comma" was "damn catchy," while Andrew Grillo of Click Music described it as having a "woozy organ and a half arsed guitar solo that masterfully straddles the line between inept and charmingly unstudied." He elaborated that the afro-beat influence was less evident and finished his review by saying that the song was an "extremely enjoyable ditty that goes some way to justifying the attention they've received over the past year."[4] Robert Forster described "Oxford Comma" as the "best song of the last five years".[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Oxford Comma"
  2. "Walcott" (Insane Mix)

Chart performance[edit]

Released in May 2008, "Oxford Comma" began to climb the UK Singles Chart. To date, the single's peak is at #38, which is Vampire Weekend's highest-charting single.[6]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 38

In other media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hogan, Michael (2008-01-28). "Michael Hogan: Vampire Weekend's "Oxford Comma," Explained". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  2. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxEo3Jd5ONY&feature=related
  3. ^ Beavers, Danielle (2008-06-20). "Vampire Weekend Encounter Cowboys, Farmers, Revolutionaries And More For 'Oxford Comma' Video". MTV. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  4. ^ Richardson, Mark (2007-10-22). "New Music: Vampire Weekend: "Bryn" / "I Stand Corrected" / "M 79" / "Oxford Comma" (Daytrotter Session)". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  5. ^ Forster, Robert (2010-06-01). "Out on the Weekend, Vampire Weekend at Brisbane’s Tivoli". The Monthly. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  6. ^ "Oxford Comma - UK chart position". The Official Charts. Retrieved 2009-01-18. [dead link]
  7. ^ Swansburg, John (2009-09-22). "Introducing the How I Met You Mother Shame Index". Slate. Retrieved 2009-09-23.