Ya Hey

Album: Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • Singer Ezra Koenig told NME: "The line 'America don't love you' is like that line from 'Hannah Hunt': you're identified as part of that country, but does that mean that everything America does is representative of me? It's a resigned feeling."
  • The song's lyric video, directed by by Greg Brunkalla is a champagne celebration, which culminates in the band getting soaked.
  • The song title is a play on words on God's Hebrew name YAHOWAH (or YAHWEH), and it has a distinctively religious tone. Ezra Koenig, who wrote the lyrics, was brought up in a Jewish family and had a Bar Mitzvah. He hasn't spent his life practising religion in earnest, but this song finds Koenig asking questions of God. "I'm at a point where I find the simplest idea of faith — 'Do you believe in God?' — boring," Koenig explained to Spin magazine. "What I'm more interested in is group identity, faith in institutions. To me, identity is ultimately the biggest theme in Vampire Weekend's songs. The first album is a bit about outsiders looking at wealth, and being simultaneously attracted to it and critical of it. A lot of people look at this record as being about God or atheism. That's definitely a part of it. But beyond that, when I think about faith, what comes up in my mind is something that's bigger than yourself."

    God first revealed his name to Moses at the burning bush , after the prophet asked Him who He was. "I am that I am" is the common translation of Yahowah, describing His eternal power and unchangeable character. It was written YHWH in the Hebrew scriptures, as originally there were no vowels in the language. Jews used 'Adonay' (Lord) instead, for fear of taking God's name in vain. The vowels AOA were inserted in YHWH in time, and so came YAHOWAH.

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