Counting myself as a fan of Vampire Weekend since their first self-titled album, I anxiously purchased their latest, Modern Vampires of the City. Totally wowed by the album so far—it seems, at my early impressions, to be their best record and maybe an instant classic—I was even more intrigued by a snippet of lyrics from the song “Hannah Hunt.”
“Hannah Hunt” is a Springsteenian ballad about a stagnant couple’s road trip “from Providence to Phoenix,” during which their relationship dissolves over a seemingly minor issue. It’s spooky, understated, and perfect. But for a Nebraska native, it also offers an intriguing reference to what appears to be my hometown. VW singer Ezra Koenig intones:
A man of faith said
Hidden eyes could see what I was thinking
I just smiled and told him
That was only true of Hannah
And we glided on through Waverly and Lincoln
If you are not familiar, Waverly and Lincoln are two towns in southeastern Nebraska, a few miles from each other along Interstate 80. If you were travelling from Providence to Phoenix, you’d likely take I-80 for a good stretch west through Des Moines, and hit Waverly before passing though the northernmost portion of Lincoln. (Later, the couple in “Hannah Hunt” are off track figuratively and literally, as they are in Santa Barbara, which certainly isn’t on the way from Rhode Island to Arizona.)
A Nebraska reference does seem rather random for Vampire Weekend, but it’s not entirely implausible. The lyrics at the band’s site don’t provide any help (most transcription sites have Waverly spelled “Waverley,” like the Sir Walter Scott novel). Contrary interpretations of the lyrics—perhaps I am missing something—haven’t yet presented themselves.
If you have any thoughts as to why this might be wrong, please let me know.