This sombre song concerns English sea explorer Henry Hudson, who in 1611 was cast adrift by his crew, while searching for the Northwest Passage. Vocalist Ezra Koenig told NME: "I had this little poem I'd written once, imagining Henry Hudson when he was first exploring over here. There was something that always struck me as dark and funny that Hudson Bay, which obviously was named after him, was the place that he was set adrift by his mutinous crew and left to die."
The song has a different vibe to anything Vampire Weekend had done before and is their first true minor key tune.
Here are three more songs on our database about explorers: "Mr. Powell" by Ozark Mountain Daredevils. "Amerigo" by Patti Smith Songfacts. "Antarctica" by Al Stewart.
The songs on Vampires of the City are decidedly more from-the-gut and less edited than the band's previous releases. "Just in terms of writing music, it wasn't thinking in terms of 'Oh these are two interesting things, let's put them in a song and make something new out of it,'" guitarist/keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij told Spin magazine. "It was more about 'That's the melody that was written on that day or that's the way I play the piano and that's the way it sounds. I don't know when I started playing like that but at some point I did and this is a recording of that.' It's distinct because it's instinctive. And maybe that's why this was a hard record to make: we wanted it to be simple and bare, we wanted you to hear us coming through the speakers. There was one song that was just a bass line, drums and vocals. And we tried adding all kinds of other stuff to it, but Ezra was actually the one who said, 'No, we can do it. We can make a chorus as big and powerful and we can do it with those three elements.' He was right."
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.