Oxford Comma (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Oxford Comma"
Oxford Comma (Vampire Weekend single) coverart.jpg
Single by Vampire Weekend
from the album Vampire Weekend
ReleasedMay 26, 2008
GenreIndie pop
Composer(s)Vampire Weekend
Lyricist(s)Ezra Koenig
Producer(s)Rostam Batmanglij
Vampire Weekend singles chronology
"Oxford Comma"
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
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, 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.[3] 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."[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Pitchfork Media writer Mark Richardson praised "Oxford Comma" as "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."[5]

In 2010, musician Robert Forster described "Oxford Comma" as the "best song of the last five years".[6]

The song is seen as a provocative challenge to pretence, priorities, and punctuation.[1][7]

Track listing[edit]

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


Vampire Weekend

Additional musicians

  • Jeff Curtin – hand drums, shaker

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.[8]

Chart (2008) Peak
UK Singles Chart 38


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[9] Gold 40,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

In other media[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hogan, Michael (January 28, 2008). "Vampire Weekend's 'Oxford Comma,' Explained". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  2. ^ "Oxford Comma, Vampire Weekend" (Video) – via YouTube.
  3. ^ Montgomery, James (2009-11-19). "Vampire Weekend's 'Cousins' Video: Right On Track". MTV. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  4. ^ Beavers, Danielle (2008-06-20). "Vampire Weekend Encounter Cowboys, Farmers, Revolutionaries And More For 'Oxford Comma' Video". MTV. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
  5. ^ Richardson, Mark (2007-10-22). "New Music: Vampire Weekend: "Bryn" / "I Stand Corrected" / "M 79" / "Oxford Comma" (Daytrotter Session)". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  6. ^ Forster, Robert (2010-06-01). "Out on the Weekend, Vampire Weekend at Brisbane's Tivoli". The Monthly. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
  7. ^ Taylor, Paul (February 5, 2019). "Song of the Day: "Oxford Comma"". Lemon Wire. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  8. ^ "Oxford Comma - UK chart position". The Official Charts. Retrieved 2009-01-18.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma". Music Canada. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  10. ^ "British single certifications – Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  11. ^ Swansburg, John (2009-09-22). "Introducing the How I Met You Mother Shame Index". Slate. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
  12. ^ "BBC Three - Pramface, Series 1, Like Narnia But Sexy".
  13. ^ "Netflix's 'The Chair' Soundtrack Is Full Of Academic Bangers". Elite Daily. Retrieved 2021-08-24.

External links[edit]