"Step" is a song by New York City band Vampire Weekend, released in 2013. The song is "inspired by" a song by Hip-Hop band Souls of Mischief, called "Step to My Girl", starting out with a brief quote for that song before heading in its own direction.

A personal note: I have wanted to write about this song since I heard it, in the summer of autumn of 2013. It captured my mood personally at the time, being a song that managed to be both sentimental and ironic, although perhaps that was more of my mood than anything. This being four years too late, this writeup won't be read by Dannye, one of Vampire Weekend's improbable fans. And neither can I explain quite as how I felt about it in 2013, but that is okay: the past is gone and I can't resurrect it.

"Step to my Girl" was a hip-hop song by Souls of Mischief, a subset of Oakland, California's Hieroglyphics crew. It was focused around romantic jealousy, and served as a warning to interlopers not to interfere with their girlfriends. Romantic jealousy is not at all a positive thing, but it is a common theme in music, and the original song, composed when the performers were in their teens, had a soft edge behind the posturing. Vampire Weekend took a hip-hop song about jealousy and turned it into an indie song about something else. They slowed it down, made it sound so mellow it is like it is underwater, and turned into a series of seeming nonsequiturs. I like geography, and I like how this song begins by listing four seemingly unrelated places: Angkor Wat, Anchorage, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and Dar Es Salaam, before going into an ironic take about the difference between New York City and San Francisco (but actually Oakland, and its wry comment about a girl who was in Berkely with her communist reader. From there, the song continues for a "conventional" verse chorus verse structure, all directed vaguely at the idea (to me) of change and loss. The song communicates perfectly the idea of being passionately attached to that we know is gone, something that is carried through in the video, showing black and white scenes from New York City. I have heard the video glossed as being about music, with the attachment to music seen as romantic attachment. That makes sense to me, but to me, it is about being attached to times and places. But those aren't inseparable: to me, nothing can evoke a time and place like music.

I haven't paid as much attention since 2013, what it means to be "indie" might have changed, if that term has any currency at all anymore. A detractor might have said this song was a mishmash of styles and references for the sake of being eclectic, and if the song didn't enchant me, I would have to agree. But to me, this song feels creative, and its labyrinthine lyrics and odd sonic quality are perfectly evocative to me.