Contra - Vampire Weekend
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 507 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. 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.
  2. 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 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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  3. 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.
  4. 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 "I think ur a Contra" Expand
  5. 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'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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  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 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
  12. 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. It was a bit goofy but none the less a solid album! Expand
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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
  20. 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.
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.