A Punk
Vampire Weekend Lyrics


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Johanna drove slowly into the city
The Hudson river all filled with snow
She spied the ring on his honor's finger
Oh, oh, oh

A thousand years in one piece of silver
She took it from his lily white hand
Showed no fear she'd seen the thing
In the young men's wing at Sloan Kettering

Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh
Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

His honor drove southward seeking exotica
Down to the pueblo huts of New Mexico
Cut his teeth on turquoise harmonicas
Oh, oh, oh

I saw Johanna down in the subway
She took an apartment in Washington Heights
Half of the ring lies here with me
But the other half's at the bottom of the sea

Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh
Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh




Hey, hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey, hey

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of “APunk” tell a fragmented story of Johanna and his honor, two people who seem to be in a romantic relationship but are separated by distance and circumstances. The song begins with Johanna driving into the city and seeing the ring on his honor’s finger. The image of the Hudson River filled with snow sets a wintery, melancholic mood. The second verse implies that the ring is a family heirloom or an old piece of jewelry with a rich history, as it is described as “a thousand years in one piece of silver.” Johanna takes the ring from his honor’s hand and shows it off to people in the young men’s wing at Sloan-Kettering Hospital. Here, the lyrics get a bit cryptic as we don’t know if Johanna is working there or if she’s there for medical treatment, but it shows that she’s unafraid of flaunting the expensive object.


The next verse takes a different perspective, this time from his honor. He is described with a tinge of sarcasm as someone who seeks “exotica,” who cuts his teeth on “turquoise harmonicas.” He goes southward to New Mexico, which is known for its vibrant, cultural atmosphere. The verse ends with an “oh, oh, oh,” perhaps a nod to Native American chanting or a Southwest musical instruments influence. The last verse ties together the fragmented narrative, with Johanna spotted by the singer in the subway. She now lives in Washington Heights, but she has only half of the ring as the other half is at the bottom of the sea. The reason for this is unclear, but it suggests that their relationship has come to a tragic end. The song ends with the repeated line, “Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh,” which could suggest a longing for human connection, a desire to belong somewhere, or a reference to people rushing to take shelter from the rain.


Overall, “APunk” is a somewhat enigmatic song that paints snippets of a bittersweet love story. The lyrics are evocative and poetic, and they create vivid imagery despite being sparse on details. The song is a staple in Vampire Weekend’s early discography and showcases their signature style of blending indie rock with Afrobeat, punk, and baroque pop influences.


Line by Line Meaning

Johanna drove slowly into the city
Johanna approached the city with a steady and restrained manner


The Hudson river all filled with snow
The river was covered in snow and gave a wintery feel to the surroundings


She spied the ring on his honor's finger
She noticed a ring on the finger of someone who held an honor, possibly a member of high society or government


A thousand years in one piece of silver
A piece of silver that has lasted for centuries


She took it from his lily white hand
She took the silver piece from the man's hand, possibly by force or deception


Showed no fear she'd seen the thing
She displayed no fear, likely because she had seen the silver piece before and knew how valuable it was


In the young men's wing at sloan-kettering
The silver piece could be found in a wing of Sloan-Kettering hospital that housed young men


Look outside at the raincoats coming, say oh
Take a look at the crowd of people approaching in their raincoats


Hey, hey
An exclamation signifying surprise or excitement


His honor drove southward seeking exotica
The man of honor traveled southward in search of something unusual or foreign


Down to the pueblo huts of New Mexico
He went all the way to New Mexico to visit native Pueblo villages, known for their adobe houses


Cut his teeth on turquoise harmonicas
He gained experience (cut his teeth) playing harmonicas made of turquoise, a mineral often used in Native American jewelry


I saw Johanna down in the subway
The singer saw Johanna in the subway, suggesting she might be trying to avoid detection or laying low


She took an apartment in Washington heights
Johanna rented a residence in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, located in the northern part of NYC


Half of the ring lies here with me
The singer has half of the ring in their possession


But the other half's at the bottom of the sea
The other half of the ring is lost at the bottom of the ocean


Eh, eh
An expression indicating satisfaction or approval




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: Christopher Joseph Baio, Christopher William Tomson, Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@jrfrank2048

LYRICS
Johanna drove slowly into the city
The Hudson River all filled with snow
She spied the ring on His Honor's finger
Oh-oh-oh

A thousand years in one piece of silver
She took it from his lilywhite hand
Showed no fear – she'd seen the thing
In the Young Men's Wing at Sloan-Kettering

Look outside at the raincoats coming, say OH

His Honor drove southward seeking exotica
Down to the Pueblo huts of New Mexico
Cut his teeth on turquoise harmonicas
Oh-oh-oh

I saw Johanna down in the subway
She took an apartment in Washington Heights
Half of the ring lies here with me
But the other half's at the bottom of the sea.



All comments from YouTube:

@danielaaguilar3017

Accurate representation of my last 4 brain cells in period of finals.

@jrdnsgrarchvs9163

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHSHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHJAJAHA

@telephonic

Good luck.

@edsongranados4318

Iguaal

@BrownsTown

Jesus buddy don't hurt yourself damn.

@alfieb7423

Women.

26 More Replies...

@TheAg2661

I haven’t heard this song in over 10 years just crazy

@alzuvloggs

Same!!!

@harrisonfink2580

Same lol Started with Cousins because it was on my daughter's movie and got stuck in my head

@slothmessexpress8888

same my uncle is a singer

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