Before Ezra Koenig was the lead singer of Vampire Weekend, he was a creative writing major at Columbia University. Even though Koenig left school, he's still a bookworm at heart.
To wit: he wrote a song about the Oxford comma. Which made him a good person to discuss how music and literature have intersected in pop culture. In this session of NYPL Live, Koenig was joined by the novelist John Wray, whose most recent novel is Lowboy.
Stream and download the talk here for free.
On the crossover between short stories and lyrics: "It’s important when you scan an album, you look at the names of the songs and they all go together and the same thing is true with a short story collection…it’s more linked than a novel."
On Attention to Lyrics: "It’s really exciting that we get to work in a medium where people still care about words."
On Rock vs Rap: "In rock lyrics it’s a treacherous line to talk about specific stuff... And I think that’s why I’ve always been a huge rap fan, because in rap that’s what it means to be a good rapper; to be specific, and to have specific references, and to be funny and topical; as oppose to this other ideal."