Vampire Weekend - Contra
Critic Score
Based on 34 reviews
2010 Ratings: #96 / 879
Year End Rank: #9
User Score
Based on 902 ratings
2010 Ratings: #49
Liked by 17 people
January 11, 2010 / Release Date
LP / Format
XL / Label
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A.V. Club

The 10 songs here don’t collectively match the near-perfection displayed on the band’s debut, but Contra is varied and vivacious enough to make each spin as revelatory as the first time you realized what the band was getting away with and how well it pulled off the feat.


Contra opener “Horchata” displays a caliber of pop songcraft and melodic intuition that gives The Shins’ James Mercer a run for his harmony, and the feathery lightness of lead singer Ezra Koenig’s voice allows him to indulge fluttering melodies that would sink under the weight of more overbearing pipes.


Contra works because of its juxtapositions-- of natural sounds to processed ones; of manners to tantrums; of party rhythms to deadpan poetry; of black music to white music.


There are some mis-steps – California English employs Auto-Tune about two years too late – but overall this is a fine follow-up to their successful debut.


With Contra, Vampire Weekend make Auto-Tune and real live guitars, Mexican drinks, Jamaican riffs and Upper West Side strings belong together, and this exciting lack of boundaries offers more possibilities than anyone could have expected.

American Songwriter

Far more than a companion piece of leftover ideas, the album is light, musically savvy and, for the most part, pulls off a thick dose of shamelessly sunny pop across all of its 10 tracks.

The Skinny

Contra doesn’t contain as much pop smarts as their eponymous debut, but then that record was such an explosion of ideas and styles that this seems more considered by comparison.

Second album and second success for the virtuoso vampires. Two years after the masterful hold-up of their debut album, which brought a considerable wind of freshness to the indie pop, Vampire Weekend returns with a new opus named "Contra". The band has kept the formula that had earned them the honors of the musical world, these small influences of chamber music, British pop, and oriental sounds. Voice, guitars, bass, drums, keyboard always form a sweet and singular harmony in the ... read more
Vampire Weekend's sophomore record builds on the orchestral instrumentation found on their amazing debut, but lacks the nuance and "debut-energy". As much as I love most of the songs here, I don't think it's cohesive in style and quantity as much as their other records. Still, the album's score is pretty high, suggesting just how amazing the discography of this band is.

Color: Yellow
FAV TRACKS: Horchata, Holiday, California English, White Sky, Run, Taxi Cab, Giving Up the Gun
LEAST ... read more
So to my surprise, I think this may just be my favourite Vampire Weekend album! Contra continues the colourful rhythm-infused indie rock vibes from the self-titled album, but the tracklisting is lot tighter and the instrumentation sounds more fleshed out and better produced in spots where the self-titled felt a bit bare-bones.

Highlights: Horchata, White Sky, Holiday, Run, Cousins, Giving Up The Gun
Ah yes, Contra. One of my favorite albums to study to in high school. The album I couldn't afford in the off chance I did find it in a record store. The album I never had enough patience to listen to in one sitting. Back when I used to wear a retirement home hat, heh. I have some really great and humble memories with this album. When my mom wrapped up homeschool for the day, I'd took a snack upstairs and I would just hang out with my rabbit 'Joe' while listening to whatever bubbly pop came my ... read more
Will hopefully do a lengthy review of this some day. Vampire Weekend has grown on me immensely this year, they've become one of my all-time favorite discographies with only 3 albums. Hopefully the rumored fourth album lives up to the rest.
Original Score: 75
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Track List

  1. Horchata (Download)
  2. White Sky
  3. Holiday
  4. California English
  5. Taxi Cab
  6. Run
  7. Cousins
  8. Giving Up The Gun
  9. Diplomat's Son
  10. I Think Ur A Contra


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