I've got a heavy coat
It's filled with rocks and sand
And if I lose it
I'll be coming back today
I only wish my words
Could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real
But that's not the way it feels
The chorus goes, “And the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness / Anybody with a holy mind can never forgive the sight / Of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified,” a pretty accurate summary of Columbia, in my humble opinion. And yes, OK, Ezra Koenig said on Twitter that he wasn’t aware of the campus connection, but then how do you explain the pre-chorus? "Anger wants a voice / Voices wanna sing" sounds a lot like the famous opening lines of The Iliad, required reading for all Columbia first-years.
Maybe not all of these references are direct or intended, but forcing a text to support your thesis is a time-honored college tradition.
...I’m sure I’m similarly sleeping on several million influences and references rooted in the soil of “Sunflower,” but my naked ear hears hints of heads like Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu, and — obviously, admittedly, accept it — Phish. Key diff: All those dudes would noodle for 20 minutes to get two, total, of ecstatic resplendence. Vampy Weeks, OTOH, spent six years editing to give you only those two minutes.