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183 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Like the first album, Contra was produced by keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and is the realization of a whole and unique musical vision that sees the band stretching out and adding new textures, instrumentation, and rhythms into their sound.Primarily recorded in New York with a springtime sojourn to Mexico, Contra feels altogether fresh, joyous, and like nothing else but is immediately recognizable as the sound of Vampire Weekend.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 12, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: XL Recordings
  • ASIN: B002JN74WI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,419 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Rock on January 12, 2010
Format: Audio CD
After releasing their debut album, Vampire Weekend seemed to face a dilemma. They could either make another album with more of the same or completely change their sound. Either way, they were bound to receive scorn from critics. But somehow, they managed to evolve while still maintaining their signature sound. Anyway, let's get down to business...

Track by track:

"Horchata" - A great opener that sets the tone for yet another summery, poppy indie release from Vampire Weekend. The use of marimba and kalimba is new yet sounds very fitting. (9/10)

"White Sky" - This song has been played by the band for at least a year before they recorded it. I'm glad to see it was finally recorded. (7/10)

"Holiday" - A straightforward pop song with obvious ska influence. Instantly catchy. (8/10)

"California English" - Interesting use of auto-tune. I never thought someone would use auto-tune in a way that wasn't blatant and annoying. (8/10)

"Taxi Cab" - This is new territory for the band. Ezra sings in a low voice, buried under strings and programmed piano pieces. Very calming track with some of their best lyrics yet. (9/10)

"Run" - Things pick back up with this track which was instantly one of my favorites. The arrangements are very engaging on this one. The choruses are instrumental but quite effective. (9/10)

"Cousins" - When I first heard this song I didn't really care for it because I had only heard it live. Once I heard the recording, I was converted. It seems to capture the spirit of A-Punk but I feel like it lacks a hook. The ending makes up for it though. (8/10)

"Giving Up The Gun" - I was so excited to hear that this song would be on Contra.
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35 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Randy Connelie on January 11, 2010
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Vampire Weekend's second album, Contra, is a strong followup to the self-titled debut album. Their peppy rhythms are intact, as is the distinctive instrumentation. In short, you'll likely enjoy Contra if you enjoyed their first album.

At times, I was reminded of Paul Simon's Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints albums. Lead singer Ezra Koenig's voice and loose lyrical rhyming/pacing sound like long-lost tracks from those discs. This vibe is compounded by the percussion and some simple sprightly-sounding picked guitar.

A few of the songs on Contra are a bit slower and/or more melancholy than any found on their previous album. This is a conscious effort by the band, and will probably be the crux of any "album sucks" vs "album is awesome" disagreements And this is also part of the reason for my 4/5 star rating: whereas the first album's closing tracks were a satisfying combination of energy followed by denouement, Contra's conclusion leaves me longing, feeling unfulfilled. But that's not because the music isn't good, but because it successfully affected me. (and then I play the album again)
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on February 5, 2010
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The truth is, if you were a fan of Vampire Weekend's debut album then you will be a fan of `Contra', their similarly styled sophomore effort. The album is very good, but sadly it does suffer from sounding too much like their debut. There is nothing new thrown into the mix and so it doesn't excite as much as it could have. Lyrical content, musical arrangements and overall mood at times feels like a carbon copy of their self titled debut.

I still really like this album, and their fans will too, but if you (like me) were looking for them to expand and really embellish their already vibrant sound then you'll be letdown a tad by the familiarity of `Contra'.

The blatant standouts (in a bad way) are `California English' and `I Think Ur a Contra'. The blatant standouts (in a good way) are `Run', `Cousins' and `Giving Up the Gun' (and thankfully these three run back-to-back-to-back). I really hate the idea of auto-tune, and the way that it is used on `California English' is so irritating I wanted to scream. The thing is that I like the songs construction musically, but the vocals are such a distraction that I'm forced to skip it whenever it comes on. The closing track, `I Think Ur a Contra' leaves me at quite the contradiction. I like the idea of branching out (this is the most unique song on the album) and I LOVE the earnest lyrics, but the way it all comes together is kind of bland and awkward. The playful double meaning of the word Contra is awesome but it is lost in the almost dullness of the song itself. On the other hand, `Run' and `Cousins' are so stunningly captivating, from start to finish. I love the breakdowns on `Run' ("I am with you-ou-ou-ou") and `Cousins' is just outstanding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Scott on June 16, 2013
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
This is the second entry from a band that's ever-proving themselves to be a musical force with which to reckon. After their self-titled release, many assumed that VW would be a one-off success that enjoyed a little play on college radio then disappeared into the ether. But solid and consistent (yet unique and playful) song-writing have made Vampire Weekend a household name in the indie rock world. The pressing is magnificent. Just incredible audio. And that Amazon tosses in the digital copy (instantly) for your Amazon Cloud makes this too good a deal to pass up. Buy it. Then buy Modern Vampires of the City. You won't regret it!
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A most excellent album
I didn't like it that much.
Jan 11, 2010 by C. Booth |  See all 4 posts
What happened to vinyl version?
Amazon does this all the time with their vinyl listings. Sometimes it's true, but most the time it just means it's out of stock, and as of writing the album is listed as being back in stock.
Jan 14, 2010 by Shin Megami Tensei |  See all 3 posts
Contra is a video game... Why would they call it that?? I don't...
"Contra" as a word predates the video game -- it just means "against." It's also the blanket term for the insurgent groups in Nicaragua's civil war, and a type of dancing, and probably many other things.
Feb 16, 2010 by Cathytg |  See all 7 posts
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