Contra

  • Record Label: XL
  • Release Date: Jan 12, 2010
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 560 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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"
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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?
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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!
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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!
  25. 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'.
  26. 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
  27. GarethR.
    Jan 20, 2010
    10
    Great album, I'm already looking forward to the next one.
  28. 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!
  29. AlexV.
    Jan 24, 2010
    9
    Positive and catchy songs. Pleasure to listen.
  30. 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
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.