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Ezra Koenig's 10 Favorite Tracks by Nineties Babies

Vampire Weekend frontman pays tribute to musicians born in the "Internet era"

May 13, 2014 3:55 PM ET
Ezra Koenig, RS Issue 1209
Ezra Koenig
Illustration by Jody Hewgill with Balvis Rubess

"I was born in the mid-Eighties, but in a lot of ways I identify more with these younger artists coming up now who were born in the Nineties," says the Vampire Weekend frontman. "So I thought I'd pay tribute to the new greatest generation – the kids who were born in the Internet era and came of age after 9/11."

Vampire Weekend on Their Adventurous New Album

1. "Neptune Estate" (King Krule, 2013)
King Krule doesn't seem too concerned with genre definitions, which is something I've noticed about younger artists. You could review him and say, "It's a little bit hip-hop, it's a little bit jazz" – but that's boring.

2. "The Wire" (Haim, 2013)
When I first saw Haim, I said, "There's something about this band that feels extra-fresh. What is it?" I did some research, and it turns out Alana Haim was born in the Nineties. She's the one who brings that youthful, born-in-the-Nineties spirit to the group. Sadly, Vampire Weekend doesn't have that.

3. "Royals" (Lorde, 2013)
Lorde came out with her debut album very confident, very fully formed, and immediately made a lot of people and ideas irrelevant. She's one of the youngest people on this list, which goes to show age is a little bit meaningless.

4. "Adore You" (Miley Cyrus, 2013)
This is a very beautiful song. People judge Miley and analyze her, and I don't want to say she's laughing all the way to the bank – that sounds like she's money-hungry – but she's laughing all the way somewhere. I respect that.

5. "Sunday" (Earl Sweatshirt, 2013)
I see a lot of Nirvana T-shirts these days, but I haven't heard a lot of popular music that sounds like Nirvana. But Earl has this grungy grittiness that reminds me of early-Nineties music.

6. "The Worst" (Jaden Smith, 2013)
This is a remix of the Jhené Aiko song. It doesn't feel fair to just call him a musician – I also find him fascinating as a person.

7. "Wikispeaks" (Ratking, 2012)
They shot part of this video at St. John the Divine, near where I went to college in New York. A peacock walks around there, and I really respect that they put the peacock in the video.

8. "Love Sosa" (Chief Keef, 2012)
Whether you think Chief Keef is the future of rap or you think his lyrics are too violent, either way he was certainly born in the Nineties. As soon as you hear his delivery, you never forget it.

9. "Citgo" (Chief Keef, 2012)
Young Ravisu is a kid from some city in Poland who posted an instrumental that Chief Keef made into this song. Two young people from different parts of the world coming together: That's the dream.

10. "Omanko" (Sky Ferreira, 2013)
Sky told me once that when she was in high school, she skipped school and saw Vampire Weekend play. That touched me in my heart, you know? World keeps spinning.

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