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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.Read more ›
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)
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.Read more ›
Oh Robert. What happened to us?
Anyhow, objectively this is good music. It deserves a spot on your shelf if you're like me and love objectively good music or cats.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While every vampire weekend album is arguably my favorite, I would say this one is just under their self titled album in my list. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Shelby Logsdon
I had to take it back because it was warped and sounded like it was folded in half when it was in storage. I will never buy another vinyl online ever again.Published 9 days ago by Tamika Skaggs
Compared to other Vampire Weekend albums, I would consider this one quirky and unique. - Not that it's a bad thing. Cousins was the track that drew me in. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lauren Davis
The main single from this album, "Holiday", is a fun, poppy track, but is much more upbeat and higher-tempo than anything else in the album. Read morePublished 6 months ago by T. Moody
Before even buying this album, it was obvious that it would be a unique, quirky, characteristic sound from one of the most talented alternative bands in the States today. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Deevo
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|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
|Vinyl question.||Be the first to reply|
|Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Pinball table now available!!! I can't believe it!||Be the first to reply|