Admittedly, it was a sad day in the world of Vampire Weekend fans when multi-instrumentalist and producer Rostam Batmanglij announced that he would not be continuing with the band. Hundreds of hearts broke as we all came to the realization that a huge part of the creative force behind the group would be leaving in what felt like the blink of an eye. It hasn’t fully sunk in yet for me, but seeing Ezra Koenig and Chris Tomson show up to play at Bernie Sanders rallies without him is an odd sight, and the release of a fourth album with only three band members will be even weirder. Regardless, Rostam has already moved on, releasing a couple great new songs under his first name, like the indie version of Zayn. (Yes, that is the best comparison I’ve ever made.) His newest track, titled “Gravity Don’t Pull Me” is a glorious electronica song full of smooth synth and beautiful vocals, and I cannot get enough of it.
The song isn’t necessarily the kind of stuff I usually listen to, but I love Vampire Weekend so much that I figured I’d give it a try. And I was hooked in an instant. “Gravity Don’t Pull Me” is far from the sounds of Rostam’s previous band, but it’s just as artistic. His personal touch is evident in every aspect of the track and his creative direction and aspirations can be felt throughout each second of it. It’s enthralling and captivating and all-consuming, the kind of song that makes you snap into attention as soon as it begins. It’s soothing and trance-inducing. It feels like pushing yourself underwater, letting everything float over you as you’re suspended weightlessly while something much larger than you are holds you up.
Hearing Rostam sing a full-length track is mind-blowing. His voice is unique in the most breathtaking way, and you have to let your ears listen to every variation in his tone and all the interesting qualities he brings to the table. It enhances the honesty and power of the song, making every word sink deep into your skin as you listen. Everything feels a thousand times more heartbreaking when he sings it, and that ability is perfect for this song. The boy is damn good at pulling at your heartstrings and making you feel every emotion under the sun.
On top of the melodic and vocal beauty of the track, the lyrics are gut-wrenching. It’s a wonderful combination. Hearing an openly gay musician sing clearly and unapologetically about same-sex relationships is refreshing and so, so important. Even more, the way in which he does it is alarmingly gorgeous. The lyric from which the track gets its name is right at the beginning of the song, a painfully beautiful admittance of defeat: “I wish I could say honestly/gravity don’t pull me.” As the song goes on the words become even more captivating. Phrases like “The worst way I ever felt/Was from the same boy that I still miss” and “I wait for the pain to be gone/But some days I still let you back in” are astounding interpretations of love and loss and heartbreak. “I messed things up/And it broke my heart” is another example of Rostam’s honesty and are perhaps some of the most understatedly glorious words in the entire track. Needless to say, the song is a phenomenal piece of art.
If you haven’t gathered this by now, I’ll put it plainly for you: I am head over heels in love with this song. The fact that Rostam wrote this and produced it and sings it with such passion and beauty is astonishing. It’s sonically pleasing beyond belief. I’ve had it on repeat for the past hour and a half and I’m not even close to being tired of it. As sad as I am that he’s gone from the entity that is Vampire Weekend, I’m so happy that he’s doing this. It’s evident that he’s creatively fulfilled and that he’s exercising his creative abilities in order to make musical magic, and that’s absolutely incredible. I can’t wait to hear what he comes out with next.