• Record Label: XL
  • Release Date: Jan 12, 2010
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 522 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. Sep 3, 2010
    9
    Definitely more of a "grower" than their first. Songs like White Sky and Diplomat's Son make it well worth the invested time, though. All the haters on here seem to be comparing them to other artists, but they're unique. They're not trying to be Paul Simon. That's what makes them so great and also apparently what bothers those who want a category to lump them in.
  2. ThorK
    Jan 12, 2010
    10
    Hmmmm... I'm kind of confused as to why this has such a low user rating. I find this to be an absolutely excellent album, better than their first if pretty much every aspect. Some standout tracks would be "Horchata," "White Sky," "California English," "Run," and "Diplomat's Son." I loved their first LP and am enjoying this one even more.
  3. TimH
    Feb 2, 2010
    9
    Listening to this one a lot, so it must be good!
  4. Sep 9, 2011
    9
    "Contra" had the problem of impossible expectations. Fans want this, they want that.. and if they don't get it it's WW3. Not only does "Contra" do whatever the **** it wants, but it does it fantastically and with the same effortless poise and class at their landmark debut.
  5. Nov 3, 2011
    8
    Very fun album, although you have to let it grow on you. Vampire Weekend's self-titled album is still better than this one, though. A little softer and more relaxed then their first album.
  6. Mar 8, 2013
    7
    The first one was better. The amount of good songs to bland songs is kinda even. Nothing horrible either, idk, why there is so much hate to this band, but oh well.
  7. VictorO
    Jan 14, 2010
    3
    Is the music competent? Yes. Is it an unapologetic aping of Rhythm of the Saints-era Paul Simon. Oh yes! Where is Vampire Weekend's own sound? It's apparently gone. Unacceptable.
  8. chrisj
    Jan 15, 2010
    0
    If you are wearing big plastic neon colored sunglasses and a v-neck you will love this album. If you like music that is unique and thoughtfully composed, you will be confused as to why this is getting so much hype. Does it deserve a 0? no, but i'm giving it one anyway. Suck it.
  9. Mr.T
    Jan 18, 2010
    0
    I don't actually think it deserves a 0, but it certainly doesn't deserve a 6. Overrated hipster dribble.
  10. ElijihW.
    Jan 14, 2010
    5
    Not bad... Not good. Just regular.
  11. MattM.
    Jan 14, 2010
    5
    Daddy when you call me you can call me Al.
  12. MikeC.
    Jan 14, 2010
    2
    The band is riding on the wave of hype and influence of pitchfork media. There is nothing new about this band. There is nothing ground breaking about this album. It is not that great.
  13. MikeK
    Jan 14, 2010
    1
    really messy. it seems as if they rushed this one. there are some ideas here, but overall the pieces are inchoate and end up as crap. stark contrast from their pristine, string-flourished debut. i;'m dissapointed in the group for not putting more effort into the songs.
  14. RicO.
    Jan 16, 2010
    5
    In a few years from now, no one will remember Vampire Weekend. They're a trend that won't last.
  15. x.
    Jan 16, 2010
    3
    Lackluster. Pretentious. Fatuous and vacuous. Those are words that came to mind whilst listening to this album. Shame. Their first album showed signs of promise.
  16. MattK
    Jan 17, 2010
    5
    Boring and uninteresting, Vampire Weekend make a safe sounding album that whitewashes their worldly influences.
  17. AliB
    Jan 17, 2010
    4
    when did this band become so bad that they don't know what their best material is and they stick it as bonus tracks here and there? also what the f happened to the strings and Upper West Side Soweto? now it's just a bad appropriation of Soweto.
  18. RayW.
    Jan 18, 2010
    5
    Don't they sound a bit gay though? Just saying i think Motley Crue deserve another listen.
  19. May 7, 2013
    5
    I'm only giving it a 5/10 because I only liked half the songs on this album. My pick tracks (and the only ones I enjoyed): 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11. Diplomat's Son being my favorite, and Giving up the gun also. Why did they choose that awful song as a first single?
  20. Oct 2, 2010
    4
    What happened? Vampire Weekend's debut was of a style so fresh, simple and absorbing it couldn't help but collect masses of praise from critics and fans alike, yet they've somehow weighed themselves down in this second outing. Opener 'Horchata' and lead single 'Cousins' are full of such dizzying synth or percussion hooks you almost feel nauseous listening to them, while 'White Sky' is anWhat happened? Vampire Weekend's debut was of a style so fresh, simple and absorbing it couldn't help but collect masses of praise from critics and fans alike, yet they've somehow weighed themselves down in this second outing. Opener 'Horchata' and lead single 'Cousins' are full of such dizzying synth or percussion hooks you almost feel nauseous listening to them, while 'White Sky' is an uninspiring rip-off of Paul Simon's Graceland. The one high point on the album is 'Taxi Cab', which is actually one of the best tracks the band have ever written and the only example of them being able to replicate the beautiful harmony and delicacy of their debut while simultaneously being a change of style. The rest of the album sounds hideously like a Vampire Weekend tribute group that just don't get the sound. Expand
  21. Dec 14, 2010
    3
    Better album than their last, but there's still something missing here. They just don't have the full sound they could on a lot of songs. The synths don't work as well for them as they think they do.
  22. May 15, 2013
    10
    This album was not at all a sophomore slump, but a great second album of Vampire Weekend. This album from the beginning of Horchata, which perfectly invites and draws in the listeners to hear more to the last track, "I think ur a contra" which perfectly ends the album. The highlights of this album are "Horchata" "White Sky" "Holiday" "Taxi Cab" "Giving up the Gun" "Diplomat's Son" and "IThis album was not at all a sophomore slump, but a great second album of Vampire Weekend. This album from the beginning of Horchata, which perfectly invites and draws in the listeners to hear more to the last track, "I think ur a contra" which perfectly ends the album. The highlights of this album are "Horchata" "White Sky" "Holiday" "Taxi Cab" "Giving up the Gun" "Diplomat's Son" and "I think ur a Contra" Expand
  23. LucasZ
    Jan 13, 2010
    8
    While you could say the first album was a 'perfect album' they should've tried something new with the second album and they did and it's pretty damn fantastic.
  24. BenjaminT
    Jan 13, 2010
    10
    Excellent album. they are the most distinctive band around. run,horchata, and diplomat's son are my favourite songs. don't miss their sophomore. you may not find hits compared to their debut but you can easily find your own hits in "contra"
  25. FrankieGun
    Jan 13, 2010
    7
    Not as good as debut, but it grows after every listening i love Run and Giving up the Gun. i dont understand why they chose that first single as it has nothing to do with the rest of the album and its the most "normal" song
  26. VaVegan
    Jan 13, 2010
    8
    Didn't knock me out like first album, bur still solid. Needs more of that great drumming from the first record.
  27. RaphS
    Jan 14, 2010
    5
    Very very disappointing. When did Ezra turn into Weird Al?? Paul Simon's Graceland is a masterpiece which should and must never be compared to this junk. Batmanglij should focus more on keyboards and less on making VW another Discovery, i.e. useless and rubbish.
  28. DavidF
    Jan 14, 2010
    9
    An extremely solid debut that retains their sound while still expanding on it. On repeated listens I learned to love the progressing sound and the ferocity of the songs, even in the more subtle tracks like "Taxi Cab" and "Diplomat's Son." It's a definite grower if you give it more than one opportunity.
  29. NickR
    Jan 15, 2010
    9
    While coming off sounding a but like "Vampire Weekend Remixed", the original New England charm manages to keep itself from becoming straight up quirk by the use of some great harmonies and bouncy musical devices.
  30. ToddG
    Jan 15, 2010
    9
    Excellent sophomore album that gets better after each listen. If you got into the sound on the first album this isn't a huge departure yet a solid album.
  31. Steve
    Jan 15, 2010
    7
    It's technically solid, more so than their first album, but something is missing. Also, did not like their use of auto-tune, even if it's meant to be a joke.
  32. BrianE
    Jan 16, 2010
    9
    Just simply superb pop music. This is just a fun album and it has stripped away some of the pretension of their debut.
  33. SimonO
    Jan 17, 2010
    5
    Lyrics do not flow with many of the songs, seem oddly out of place
  34. herveL
    Jan 17, 2010
    10
    I would give it a 20 if i could. Contra is so good, inventive and generous you want to dance, sing, laugh at the same time. probably one of the most important band now opening the decade with one of the best album. Chapeau.
  35. ChadS.
    Jan 29, 2010
    9
    Vampire Weekend's debut album is a tough act to follow, so c'mon, cut these Ivy League boys some slack. Although nothing from "Contra" gobsmacks you with the same immediacy as "I Stand Corrected" and "Oxford Comma", a backlash is unwarranted. If anything, the songs, this time around, are better arranged, which almost makes up for the disappointing tunesmanship. "Giving Up the Vampire Weekend's debut album is a tough act to follow, so c'mon, cut these Ivy League boys some slack. Although nothing from "Contra" gobsmacks you with the same immediacy as "I Stand Corrected" and "Oxford Comma", a backlash is unwarranted. If anything, the songs, this time around, are better arranged, which almost makes up for the disappointing tunesmanship. "Giving Up the Gun", with its percussive backing track, gives minimalism a good name, just like Prince did during his glory years(disc one of "Sign of the Times", and "Kiss"(from "Parade")), and more importantly, the one track that would've been at home on the band's superlative debut. There's other highlights, albeit only for fans with realistic expectations. The lead singer sounds like a collegiate Paul Simon on "Taxi Cab", had "Graceland" been recorded at the beginning of the old folkie's career. "Run", and especially "Horchata", while not pure songs(any garage band could cover "A-Punk" and sound great), indie-rock songs that transcend its sometimes limiting aesthetic, the African-flavored percussions and baroque instrumentation adorn the two "Contra" tracks with a lot of textural detail; they're busy songs that give the listener something to unpack. "This ain't no [sophmore slump]/this ain't no fooling around". "Contra" is "no party", "no disco"; the improved musicianship shows a newfound respect for the African sounds they're pillaging. Expand
  36. eastside
    Jan 12, 2010
    9
    I have listened to this album several times and it is an infectious, captivating recording. I literally wore out my copy of VW's debut--not much new ground covered here, but the energy and enthusiasm is palpable. It sounds great on my home stereo and great on my mp3 player, bursting with instrumentation and catchy tunes. I love what the Guardian said: "sounding a bit like Paul I have listened to this album several times and it is an infectious, captivating recording. I literally wore out my copy of VW's debut--not much new ground covered here, but the energy and enthusiasm is palpable. It sounds great on my home stereo and great on my mp3 player, bursting with instrumentation and catchy tunes. I love what the Guardian said: "sounding a bit like Paul Simon's Graceland being covered by 90s geeks They Might Be Giants." That really says it all. Fantastic record. Expand
  37. RobertC
    Jan 12, 2010
    10
    Beautiful, clever, and catch. This album has a certain heartfelt feeling that is missing from their first record, which makes up for the fact that Contra is less happy go lucky than their debut. Songs like "Giving Up the Gun," "Diplomats Son," and "White Sky" stand out. With their sophmore album they prove that they are still smarter than their indie peers, but they also show that they Beautiful, clever, and catch. This album has a certain heartfelt feeling that is missing from their first record, which makes up for the fact that Contra is less happy go lucky than their debut. Songs like "Giving Up the Gun," "Diplomats Son," and "White Sky" stand out. With their sophmore album they prove that they are still smarter than their indie peers, but they also show that they are more more endearing. Expand
  38. JohnW
    Jan 12, 2010
    10
    Why such low user comments? oh your still stuck on KE$HA and other pop shit right? This album is perfect! wake up to what real music is or have you been in the smog of crappy music for so long you dont know what good music is anymore?
  39. KurtC
    Jan 12, 2010
    6
    "Cousins" is by far the best song on this album; too bad the rest of the album couldn't live up to those expectations. On first listen I came away bored and disappointed considering their debut made my Top 10 in 2008. I found the majority of the songs on "Contra" too frilly and empty of emotion or groove, not to mention the overly annoying vocals. I'll give them another chance, "Cousins" is by far the best song on this album; too bad the rest of the album couldn't live up to those expectations. On first listen I came away bored and disappointed considering their debut made my Top 10 in 2008. I found the majority of the songs on "Contra" too frilly and empty of emotion or groove, not to mention the overly annoying vocals. I'll give them another chance, but I have to say it was tough to make it through the first time. Expand
  40. DaneH
    Jan 12, 2010
    8
    I dont get why this is getting such bad user ratings. I think it is a stronger album than their first. Whilst not as immediate as the first, the songs seem more complex, and for that, will make the album more enjoyable to listen to down the trackl
  41. JayP
    Jan 13, 2010
    8
    Not as catchy as their first album, but I feel it's a more mature second album over all it's a "B" effort.
  42. LukeW.
    Jan 13, 2010
    8
    Although not nearly as immediate as their first offering, all these songs are huge growers. you'll be tapping your foot to the skittering beats (this is seriously one innovative if not overly showy drummer) and choppy and swirly electronic sounds in no time.
  43. ChrisWojo
    Jan 13, 2010
    9
    This is a great follow-up for Vampire weekends first CD. Their originality comes through on each song and they are as clever as they have ever been. But, we need more songs next time guys!
  44. DougD
    Jan 14, 2010
    9
    This album doesn't have songs that grab you right away like their first album. However, I cannot stop from replaying the album all over again each time it finishes, and after several listens, every song continues to grow on me. It's really great to see that their first album wasn't a fluke. I can't wait for more music from these guys. The stand out songs for me: "White This album doesn't have songs that grab you right away like their first album. However, I cannot stop from replaying the album all over again each time it finishes, and after several listens, every song continues to grow on me. It's really great to see that their first album wasn't a fluke. I can't wait for more music from these guys. The stand out songs for me: "White Sky" and "Run." Expand
  45. JoshB
    Jan 14, 2010
    10
    "Contra" has been on repeat for me ever since I got it on Tuesday. Yes, the first album was more instantly catchy, but this one is just as addictive and compulsively listenable. I keep singing "He was a diplomat's suh-uh-uh-un / he was eighty-wu-uh-un" over and over again. It's really a great grower if you just keep listening! Good early candidate for Best of 2010.
  46. RupertM
    Jan 15, 2010
    5
    If you want the real VW, listen to Contramelt A and B on the bonus disc. The main release is MOR pop crap. Enjoy the Billboard number 1 Batmanglij with your production-lite techniques.
  47. MattH
    Jan 15, 2010
    10
    I must be hearing this band differently than others because I disagree with the consensus that this is good but worse than their debut. In every way, this sounds to my ears like the confident delivery of what was, to this point, merely potential.
  48. TriciaS
    Jan 16, 2010
    9
    This album is a very good one. Perhaps not as good as their first, but songs like "Cousins" and "Diplomat's Son" are as good as "A-Punk" or "Oxford Comma". I take this album for what it is: a very good sophomore effort.
  49. KatieY
    Jan 17, 2010
    10
    Vampire Weekend is a great band! Their music is always unpredictable, they always have cool beats and dynamic lyrics! Get CONTRA NOW!
  50. bman
    Jan 19, 2010
    9
    While the majority of people I'm sure won't agree with this; I think it's slightly better than their debut. It's a little more colorful and they explore a greater range of sounds. The tremolo pick in 'Cousins' is a complete ripoff of 'Thunderstruck'.
  51. TobyH
    Jan 21, 2010
    8
    I seem to be in the minority here, seeing the User Votes average, but I thought it was as good as their first! OK, there's nothing as catchy as A-Punk (not even lead single Cousins), but neither it there anything as embarrassing as One (Blake's Got A New Face). Best Song: either Diplomat's Son or I Think Ur A Contra. Like their debut, the album begins spikily and gradually I seem to be in the minority here, seeing the User Votes average, but I thought it was as good as their first! OK, there's nothing as catchy as A-Punk (not even lead single Cousins), but neither it there anything as embarrassing as One (Blake's Got A New Face). Best Song: either Diplomat's Son or I Think Ur A Contra. Like their debut, the album begins spikily and gradually becomes more emotional. Expand
  52. GarethR.
    Jan 20, 2010
    10
    Great album, I'm already looking forward to the next one.
  53. AntonisZ.
    Jan 24, 2010
    10
    This is the most entertaining album I have heard in a couple years! It's really surprising as the Vampire Weekend's previous releases weren't among my faves. It's such a wonderful album, I am addicted listening to it from beginning to the end non-stop. This album will be classic in the years to come. A real and hugely entertaining masterpiece!
  54. AlexV.
    Jan 24, 2010
    9
    Positive and catchy songs. Pleasure to listen.
  55. GlennW.
    Jan 25, 2010
    7
    While the disc is certainly quite solid it doesn't resonate as brightly as their debut, I'm afraid. I've played it five times in just a couple of days and I'm still waiting for some of the tunes to sink in. The band appears to have a large contingent of haters out there (witness the ridiculous 0 scores which are bringing down the user ratings) matched by an overzealous While the disc is certainly quite solid it doesn't resonate as brightly as their debut, I'm afraid. I've played it five times in just a couple of days and I'm still waiting for some of the tunes to sink in. The band appears to have a large contingent of haters out there (witness the ridiculous 0 scores which are bringing down the user ratings) matched by an overzealous fanbase. I'm a fan but tread more moderately. The challenge for them will be what to do next. Expand
  56. JM
    Jan 31, 2010
    8
    At least Ray W. and Mr. T gave it a fair and objective listen. The ratings on this albums are an example of why I never go by user reviews 101.
  57. Joseph
    Jan 12, 2010
    9
    I agree that VW's follow-up isn't as immediate as their debut. But give it several listens, letting the songs sink in. The songs sound bigger, more confident. The most impressive aspect is that VW have shown that they can evolve their sound and still deliver another batch of excellent songwriting.
  58. TomP.
    Jan 12, 2010
    8
    As Pitchfork said, the album has a much more eccentric sound to it. Although the songs aren't altogether as strong as the first album, Contra is brighter and newer sounding as their debut. Sure, they're not going to win over any new fans with this one, but any music coming from Vampire Weekend feels like a breath of fresh air, so who cares anyways? It's as brilliant of a As Pitchfork said, the album has a much more eccentric sound to it. Although the songs aren't altogether as strong as the first album, Contra is brighter and newer sounding as their debut. Sure, they're not going to win over any new fans with this one, but any music coming from Vampire Weekend feels like a breath of fresh air, so who cares anyways? It's as brilliant of a follow-up as you could expect from such a good first album. Highlights: White Sky, I Think Ur A Contra, Horchata. Expand
  59. PapaBox
    Jan 12, 2010
    9
    They're taking chances. They're expanding their palette. They still make great pop songs. Why are people hating this? I don't like preppy fashion either, but why should they pretend to be someone else? Get some taste.
  60. ForrestW
    Jan 12, 2010
    9
    Although the music may not seem as fresh as their first album upon first listen, when further inspected, Contra is more finely crafted and interesting than their first record and an incredibly fun listen.
  61. AlexR.
    Jan 12, 2010
    10
    Amazing. I am a huge fan of their first album, and Contra expands on their style then while still keeping the same spirit. I would highly recommend lead singer Ezra Koenig's tongue-tying autotuned vocals in "California English", the upbeat "Holiday", and the M.I.A. sampling "Diplomat's Son". All great stuff on the album.
  62. KennethF
    Jan 12, 2010
    10
    After listening to the record 5 or so times, I can tell that this is going to be a keeper. It's rare that I can listen to an album 5 times within a few days, and like it more with each listen. I find Vampire Weekend to have such a natural, organic sound to their music that it both excites me and calms me at the same time. And at the end of the day, stirring emotion is what After listening to the record 5 or so times, I can tell that this is going to be a keeper. It's rare that I can listen to an album 5 times within a few days, and like it more with each listen. I find Vampire Weekend to have such a natural, organic sound to their music that it both excites me and calms me at the same time. And at the end of the day, stirring emotion is what music's all about, isn't it? Expand
  63. MatthewG
    Jan 13, 2010
    9
    A great album that improves from the already awesome debut album, with the only misstep being "Diplomat's Son."
  64. BradP.
    Jan 13, 2010
    8
    Nice follow-up to the first one. Boatloads of wordplay soaked in African rhythms and snarky East Coast College attitude. Not warm and fuzzy, but varied, entertaining and fun.
  65. KevinM.
    Jan 13, 2010
    9
    This album is not as good as their first. However, it is very, very good. Holiday, California English, and Giving Up the Gun are personal favorites. Their sound is incredible. If you liked Wolfgang Amadeus by Phoenix, you'll like this.
  66. NicholasM
    Jan 14, 2010
    10
    It's definitely a grower, but it's thoroughly amazing by the third or fourth lesson.
  67. KevinS.
    Jan 14, 2010
    9
    Not as great as their debut album, but still a pretty amazing one. They don't stray far from their signature sound that won all of us over two years ago. A great way to start off the music of 2010!
  68. PaulS
    Jan 14, 2010
    9
    Great Album with inventive beats and short guitar rhythms. They have very catchy lyrics and they use the synth a lot more in this music. The 1st album is better though. People who gave this album a bad review seem like they have not listened to the whole thing.
  69. JustinP
    Jan 16, 2010
    6
    Does anyone else find this music not very exciting?
  70. JoeH.
    Jan 23, 2010
    7
    Not as solid as the debut - still pretty unique and worth repeated listens.
  71. Aug 11, 2010
    8
    It is not as fun as their first album, and some of the songs are downright frustrating. 'Contra' is, however, a creative and catchy album that serves as a worthy sophomore effort.
  72. Dec 26, 2010
    9
    My favorite album of the year. Richer than their first and a great mixing of playful originality with accessibility. Haters, go back to listening to Motley Crue, then, or Battles, then, whatever your thing is. This is my kind of thing.
  73. Oct 6, 2013
    9
    This album is excellent. While it's not as immediately accessible as VW's self-titled, Contra is just as good as that debut, and is quite rewarding over time. It provides the listener with a somewhat new variation of the band. Their electronic elements are increased here amidst the Afro-pop beats and guitar riffs, but they still manage to maintain their identifiable sound. And theThis album is excellent. While it's not as immediately accessible as VW's self-titled, Contra is just as good as that debut, and is quite rewarding over time. It provides the listener with a somewhat new variation of the band. Their electronic elements are increased here amidst the Afro-pop beats and guitar riffs, but they still manage to maintain their identifiable sound. And the songwriting is just as thoughtful, and dense as before. Ultimately, Contra is the sound of a band that has properly evolved. A simultaneously ambitious and catchy album. Expand
  74. Oct 6, 2010
    10
    One of the few albums I can listen to without changing track. It's far better than their first LP. "near-perfection"? What kinda music are you listening to?, coz it must be terrible.
  75. Nov 5, 2010
    8
    It isn't as consistently good as their first album, but this is still worth buying, it has a couple standout songs. I like that they didn't completely abandon what brought them initial success.
  76. May 25, 2011
    8
    Took me awhile to fully enjoy this album but to be honest, I kind of didn't want to like this band. I thought for some reason that this was a band that's lame to like. But I was sorely mistaken. From the catchy opener "Horchata" to there hit single :Giving Up The Gun", Contra is almost a flawless. Ezra Koenig's vocals are simple yet so perfect for these pop tracks. All In All, Contra is aTook me awhile to fully enjoy this album but to be honest, I kind of didn't want to like this band. I thought for some reason that this was a band that's lame to like. But I was sorely mistaken. From the catchy opener "Horchata" to there hit single :Giving Up The Gun", Contra is almost a flawless. Ezra Koenig's vocals are simple yet so perfect for these pop tracks. All In All, Contra is a great album that shouldn't go missed. B+ Expand
  77. Nov 27, 2010
    8
    "Contra" features many interesting catchy tracks like "Cousins", "Giving Up the Gun", "Horchata" and "Holiday". Maybe your children below age of ten may like this because it is so childlike, and maybe it'll be pass down to the next few generations too. Ezra Koenig & co. really know how to play funky music with their drums, guitars and keyboards.
  78. Jan 16, 2011
    7
    Having despised their first album, I had no idea I would love Contra as much as I do. But Vampire Weekend has managed to take everything I hated about their debut and turned it into a much more likable sound.
  79. Oct 15, 2011
    8
    Vampire Weekend's playfulness from their debut album continues delightfully on "Contra". Although one may feel that they're rehashing some of the formulas they captured the first time around, they have vitality and inspiration all the way through. Highlights, as "Holiday", are songs you'll be humming long after you've turned off the record.
  80. Feb 1, 2011
    9
    This might be an album that has to grow on you a bit but after a few listens I got hooked. I think this second album is even better and a little deeper musically than their previous album. Lots of great tunes here and my personal favorites are Holiday, White Sky, and Cousins. The only track i felt was weak which is why i rated 9 is i don't care too much for the song California English. ItThis might be an album that has to grow on you a bit but after a few listens I got hooked. I think this second album is even better and a little deeper musically than their previous album. Lots of great tunes here and my personal favorites are Holiday, White Sky, and Cousins. The only track i felt was weak which is why i rated 9 is i don't care too much for the song California English. It was a bit goofy but none the less a solid album! Expand
  81. Nov 12, 2011
    9
    Not nearly as good as their self titled debut album, but still fantastic non the less. The only tracks that didn't catch my fancy very much were California English and Run, otherwise, the album is pitch perfect. VW returns with their fun, upbeat, and unique sound.
  82. Jul 31, 2011
    9
    this album was excellent. the singing and songwriting were good. the album showcases their musical ability. and they are fantastic. white sky and taxi cab are great songs. diplomat's son as also a winner
  83. Jul 1, 2011
    10
    I don't see why this album is so harshly judged by so many. It seems superiour to original in basically every possible way of comparing the two. The reason why the original album was so strong was that every there were no weaker song and all were instantly likeable from the first listen. This album seems the same, with the possible exception of California English which wasn't instantlyI don't see why this album is so harshly judged by so many. It seems superiour to original in basically every possible way of comparing the two. The reason why the original album was so strong was that every there were no weaker song and all were instantly likeable from the first listen. This album seems the same, with the possible exception of California English which wasn't instantly likeable, but I am now a fan of. How Contra differs is that it has much more depth than the debut, with the final three songs being so much greater than the sum of their parts. I really see it being very close to infallible, as there really isn't anything notable I can find to criticise...

    While I find it impossible to ever pick a definitive "favourite album", Contra would be one of the three albums that get down to the "you can't make me choose between them" stage.
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  84. Jul 8, 2011
    10
    I think that this album contains any magic effect on me, when i listen songs like diplomat's son (a relly fantastic song). Cousins, Horchata, Holiday and Giving up the gun offers diversity into his own style and interpretation of music. A beautiful continuation o his debut album.
  85. j30
    Jan 30, 2012
    7
    The album Contra definitely builds off of it's predecessor (Vampire Weekend), but it is still kind of bland in some areas.
  86. Jan 7, 2012
    10
    Here's the thing: I didn't really like their first album all that much. "Oxford Comma" was nice and all, but the rest of the album was just a bit twee and insubstantial for my tastes. What makes Contra such a great record is that it packs much more of an instrumental punch than it's predecessor, while deftly maintaining everything that people love (and hate) about Vampire Weekend. It'sHere's the thing: I didn't really like their first album all that much. "Oxford Comma" was nice and all, but the rest of the album was just a bit twee and insubstantial for my tastes. What makes Contra such a great record is that it packs much more of an instrumental punch than it's predecessor, while deftly maintaining everything that people love (and hate) about Vampire Weekend. It's smarter, too: whereas the self-titled seemed naive and precious - and thus a wide-open target for it's legions of critics - Contra, on the other hand, seems proudly defiant. Tracks such as "Horchata" and "Holiday" encapsulate everything haters love to spout about, but this only contributes to the fact that these songs are, in fact, catchy as hell and extremely well done, as is the rest of the album.

    Over all, an enormous improvement over their so-so debut, and one that is capable of both nuance and the blissed-out excitement that put them on the map in the first place.
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  87. Jun 19, 2013
    8
    Contra doesn’t completely manage to worthily follow up their surprisingly good debut, but is really close to their self-titled first release two years ago. The New York indie band has maintained their nebulous lyrics and experimental music style that takes reggae, ska, baroque, Afrobeat, and so many other weird types of music that most likely aren’t even named, and throws them all into oneContra doesn’t completely manage to worthily follow up their surprisingly good debut, but is really close to their self-titled first release two years ago. The New York indie band has maintained their nebulous lyrics and experimental music style that takes reggae, ska, baroque, Afrobeat, and so many other weird types of music that most likely aren’t even named, and throws them all into one single song. This definitely needs getting used to, but if you’ve listened to Vampire Weekend before (which if you haven’t done, you’ve really missed an important new band), then you should be accustomed to their unconventional kind of music and should have great fun with this CD straightaway. Just like Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, or so many other popular alternative rock bands out there, the band members oftentimes aren’t sure about their songs’ meanings themselves which gives the listener dozens of interpretations on the 10 songs that Contra offers us. The phrasing is intelligent plus lovely to hear and the four guys are totally personable. Therefore, just like with their entrance in the big music business, Contra isn’t a real musical masterpiece, yet an endearing album that you will think about a lot and will immediately want on your iPod. After all, it’s only contra is that most tracks just aren’t as catchy as the songs on Vampire Weekend. Expand
  88. Nov 18, 2012
    10
    Just as good as the first. To me, it feels like they got the good things in their eponymous debut album and mixed it with electronic aspects, creating something even more unique.
  89. Nov 2, 2013
    9
    [9.3] Contra has a lot of things that Vampire Weekend clearly wants, and clearly recognizes that they didn't have them before. Their debut was self-admittedly pure fun, and while the songwriting was smart, catchy, and generally accessible, it was clearly an exhibition of influence. They wanted very much to get right in your face, and tell you "look at what we know." There is certainly no[9.3] Contra has a lot of things that Vampire Weekend clearly wants, and clearly recognizes that they didn't have them before. Their debut was self-admittedly pure fun, and while the songwriting was smart, catchy, and generally accessible, it was clearly an exhibition of influence. They wanted very much to get right in your face, and tell you "look at what we know." There is certainly no problem with having influences, but with their debut, they didn't have the right attitude to support their ideas. They wanted to have fun, and more importantly, they wanted other people to have fun. They didn't make music for themselves, which is generally the undoing of many great bands. Contra is a an experiment of self-realization, and it has a whole f*cking lot of character to realize. Their influences are absolutely still there, but now they actually know how to use them. Instead of just saying "look at what I know," they say, "look at what I know, and look at how I'm using it." Now their influences have purpose, they use fun, generally not well-known African pop beats and show how they can be beautiful, rather than just fun. The result is great, and sometimes even nostalgic. One might get the feeling of driving on a tropical island listening to some eccentric Afro-beat, which is almost reminiscent of some video games (or specifically, Far Cry). The sound is distinct, instantly recognizable, and greatly rewarding. While it isn't a reflective album, it doesn't need to be. It's an album about growth (themed appropriately), and most importantly, self-satisfaction. Vampire Weekend passes the test that all new bands struggle with and usually can't figure out. They know what their place is, and they don't care what their audience thinks it is because they don't have to, and they know that. Expand
  90. May 12, 2013
    9
    In my opinion, this is easily their best album. The collection of songs are stronger than those of the debut album and the band has produced some brilliant catchy tracks. Overall the album is a near-masterpiece.
  91. Apr 29, 2013
    6
    I loved the Vampire Weekend debut. It was a slick combination of indie rock, baroque pop anthems and surf rock guitar riffs. Contra, at it's time in 2010, was a highly anticipated album that some say had too much hype than it should have gotten. To be honest, I agree. There are some tracks on this album that I absolutely loved, (Take Diplomat's Son, and "Cousins"), and some that wereI loved the Vampire Weekend debut. It was a slick combination of indie rock, baroque pop anthems and surf rock guitar riffs. Contra, at it's time in 2010, was a highly anticipated album that some say had too much hype than it should have gotten. To be honest, I agree. There are some tracks on this album that I absolutely loved, (Take Diplomat's Son, and "Cousins"), and some that were so-so. To be honest, I only like about half of the track son this record, the others grew on me. I'm giving them credit for building on their own sound, and again, I really really love some of these tracks, however, that's only half the package.

    It just never grew on me. 6/10
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  92. Oct 7, 2013
    9
    A solid showing after the brilliant self-titled album. Contra isn't always right on the money, but more often than not the songs will grow on you, and you'll be a huge fan of the album in time. Vampire Weekend experiments a bit more in this album, but sticks to their sound, and they pull it off. Not as good as Vampire Weekend, but just as good in it's own way. A solid album from Vampire Weekend!
  93. Jul 10, 2013
    9
    The second album has really great songs throughout! I really liked their first album and Contra definitely doesnt disappoint! My fave tracks on the album: White Sky, California English, Cousins
  94. Nov 25, 2013
    8
    This is one of the most unique albums I've heard in recent memory. Maybe even of all time. How an album this adventurous reaches #1 on Billboard is a mystery.

    Apparently Contra refers to four things. On the surface, this record's about a breakup. On top of that, he's added stuff about an 80s videogame called "Contra", Nicaraguan politics, and an album by the Clash called Sandinista!
    This is one of the most unique albums I've heard in recent memory. Maybe even of all time. How an album this adventurous reaches #1 on Billboard is a mystery.

    Apparently Contra refers to four things. On the surface, this record's about a breakup. On top of that, he's added stuff about an 80s videogame called "Contra", Nicaraguan politics, and an album by the Clash called Sandinista! that he quotes and references several times throughout. What the I don't give a about Nicaragua, old videogames, or the unsatisfying follow-up to London Calling. Why would you load your album with all that?

    But that hardly matters. What I get from this is some guy who's been into all of these things recently and needed to put them all under one umbrella, using the word Contra to bring them together. I can't blame him for that; he's just writing about what he knows. In fact, his mind jumping around random subjects makes the central part of this the breakup aspect a lot stronger. It seems counterintuitive considering the other stuff would DETRACT from that, but to me it doesn't. The last track, the only one without all the Clash/Nicaragua/videogame bull****, is incredibly satisfying whereas in any other setting it would be a blowoff of a breakup song.

    Now this is definitely a departure from Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut, but that's a good thing. I liked a lot from that, but it's not too revisitable. Fortunately, improvements have been made in the right places. The falsetto has been laid off except on the last track, where it fits. There is little to no filler on here. The incomprehensible lyrics are still incomprehensible, but actually do flow with one another.

    You're a pretentious band, but that's what you do. You've done absolutely everything to improve on your last record.

    I give this an eight out of ten, almost a nine, but not quite one. I hoped it would be higher considering all the great stuff I've been hearing. But it's good enough, and a must-listen for anyone.

    STANDOUT TRACKS: HORCHATA, HOLIDAY, CALIFORNIA ENGLISH, TAXI CAB, COUSINS, GIVING UP THE GUN, I THINK UR A CONTRA
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  95. Dec 25, 2013
    9
    One of my favourite albums of the 21st century. It combines their upbeat, feel good music with a distinct African vibe. Very well written and composed, I highly recommend this.
  96. Jan 15, 2015
    10
    Contra feels spontaneous but precisely methodical, joyful but profoundly melancholic, frenetic but sensible, free-spirited but analytical, and old but also brand and originally new. It's not a cohesive group of sounds we haven't already heard before: it's way much worked and mature. It has maximized Vampire Weekend's intentions and power to another frontier. It's outstanding!
  97. Jan 23, 2014
    10
    Contra is a bright, bold, fun and exciting 2nd album from Vampire Weekend, where there aren't really any bad songs at all, and no rough patches. This is a clean, and limitless nearby masterpiece.
  98. Mar 30, 2014
    10
    My favorite album of all time. This is a true masterpiece. Vampire Weekend perfects their style that was revealed to us with their debut. I can't even give a standout song because they're all flawless and perfect. Everybody who's in to indie rock, alternative, or even trying to get into alternative, owe it to themselves to hear this. A true masterpiece.
  99. Mar 5, 2015
    10
    This album is just as amazing as the first and third. With fantastic songs like Diplomat's Son, and some of Vampire Weekend's more popular tracks like Holiday and Cousins, there's no way someone could deny this album's glowing perfection!
  100. May 24, 2015
    10
    I find it hard to understand Contra's tendency to be the most disliked Vampire Weekend album. It is the perfect follow-up to 'Vampire Weekend', the band's first album, and it contains many of the things which made it marvellous, but with different flavours and a wider array of influences, such as classical, synthpop, ska, and reggae. The songs are all at the standard Vampire WeekendI find it hard to understand Contra's tendency to be the most disliked Vampire Weekend album. It is the perfect follow-up to 'Vampire Weekend', the band's first album, and it contains many of the things which made it marvellous, but with different flavours and a wider array of influences, such as classical, synthpop, ska, and reggae. The songs are all at the standard Vampire Weekend calibre, and that is an amazing feat in itself. Some of the stand-out tracks include I Think Ur A Contra (my personal favourite), Giving Up The Gun, and Diplomat's Son. Expand
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Contra establishes that his band has chosen another path, celebrating the world's contradictions, contraindications, and contradistinctions with a new pop sound made up of old pop sounds that aren't the same old pop sounds.
  2. Contra is a solidly entertaining, well-constructed album, and if people take to it, the tendency to mock the band will, I think, fade, simply because it doesn't have obviously unfashionable moments to feel uneasy about.
  3. If Vampire Weekend was Rushmore, Contra is their Royal Tenenbaums: brainy, confident and generally awesome.