Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A-Punk unexpected meaning

My song choice is "A-Punk" by Vampire Weekend. It was released with the second album called Vampire Weekend. It is a very short song and if you don't listen closely, you will not understand anything. When I did some more research into what the song meant I was very surprised. The song begins with Johanna, who is driving into New York during the Wintertime. The first lyrics that paint a picture of the songs meaning come in the second stanza. 
A thousand years in one piece of silverShe took it from his lily-white hand Showed no fear--she'd seen the thing  In the young men's wing at Sloan-Kettering
These lyrics are very telling. It is likely that Johanna is picking up a ring that is very old, and probably passed down generations. She is getting the ring because the holder of the ring has died of cancer. I know this because "lily white hand" means really white and Sloan-Kettering is a cancer center in New York.  I think it is Johanna's brother who has died because the person is young. 
His Honor drove southward seeking exotica Down to the pueblo huts of New MexicoCut his teeth on turquoise harmonicasOh-oh-oh 
These lyrics are some sort of flashback. His Honor knows that he will die soon and wants to do something fun beforehand, this is why he goes to New Mexico. We know that he is really close to death because he is so weak that he cuts his teeth while playing a harmonica. 
Half of the ring lies here with me
But the other half's at the bottom of the sea
This part shows how upset Johanna is about losing this person. She was so upset that she cut the ring in half and threw it into some body of water to try and forget about this tragic death. She couldn't bring herself to get rid of the entire ring though she she gave it to the narrator of the song. We know this because the word "me". The narrator is probably one of Johanna's friends. The last bit of the song talks about raincoats coming and what I got from this was that raincoats represent Johanna's mood: depressed and dreary, like a rainy day. I don't think A-Punk has an overarching theme, I think it is just telling a story and you really need to take the song apart line by line to understand it.

1 comment:

  1. As I've told you before, this song holds a different meaning to me because I've heard those same first 10 seconds about 100 times in the last year. That said, I appreciate you sharing this part of the song that I think has been overlooked by the vast majority of the listeners. I find it interesting that Vampire Weekend kept this part of the song mostly concealed with a very specific reference to a cancer hospital in New York that only true New Yorkers would be able to understand.