Contra

  • Record Label: XL
  • Release Date: Jan 12, 2010
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 530 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. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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"
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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?
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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!
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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!
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.