Ezra Koenig is too often portrayed as a cherub, a golden-voiced frontman who is more troubadour than rock star. But in the half-decade since their debut album, we’ve seen Ezra and Vampire Weekend grow into composed, practiced rock stars. Their sound has matured too, from songwriting choices to the actual sounds they create—Ezra’s voice being the chief example.
For their contribution to Starbucks’ Sweetheart 2014 album due out Feburary 4, Vampire Weekend covered “Con te Partirò,” a piece of Italian opera made immortal by Andrea Bocelli. Besides being able to reduce any listener to a puddle of blubbering tears in just four minutes, it’s also an incredibly difficult song to sing.
Ezra doesn’t miss a beat, slipping between key changes like they were a summer selection of espadrilles. And he’s doing it all in Italian. The band replaces Bocelli’s orchestra with their signature afrobeat rhythms, injecting a welcome bit of reggae into the mix.
We’ve already heard Beck cover John Lennon for Sweetheart 2014, and Vampire Weekend’s operatic rework keeps the love coming. Hear the cover below and check out Bocelli (spoiler: he kills it) in action afterwards: