Giving Up the Gun

Songfacts®:

  • Vampire Weekend takes a stab at arena rock on this synthy number. Frontman Ezra Koenig commented in the band's track-by-track production notes: "On this song, we wanted to get across some big feelings, but still keep a sense of minimalism. I think we found a way to do that, musically and lyrically."
  • The origins of this song date tack to the mid 2000s. Bassist Chris Baio explained to Drowned In Sound: "The first time I heard (a pretty different version of) this song was at a L'homme Run show in Lerner Hall, Columbia's student center, in the fall of 2005. Rostam (Batmanglij) came up on stage and sang along with the choruses. I think CT (Chris Tomson) was playing bongo? It was fun! I remember we tried playing it together as a band in an early Vampire Weekend practice but felt it wasn't working and needed a different approach. This year we revisited it from a more studio/production perspective and wrote new parts. I'm personally proud of the bass part I wrote on this one - it's minimal but sing-songy, which is not the way I usually write."
  • Koenig explained to the NME February 16, 2010: "I got the idea for the song from a book my dad gave me called Giving Up The Gun. It's a history book about the time when Japan expelled all the foreigners from the country, closed off all trade and stopped using guns and reverted back to the sword. It seems unimaginable now that humanity could willingly go back to an older technology. It got me thinking about whether you could give up all the things that you have and go back to a simpler way of life."
  • The song's music video, which centers on an unbeatable female tennis player, features guest appearances from Joe Jonas, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and rapper/producer RZA. The Malloys, who have worked with the Jonas Brothers in the past, directed the clip. The unbeatable female tennis player is played by Jenny Murray, who previously was the goth girl in the "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" clip. Her coach in the video is Lil Jon.

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