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Contra

4.2 out of 5 stars 196 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 12, 2010
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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 (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,000 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's a CD with music from Vampire Weekend on it. If you like Vampire Weekend, you'll like this CD, unless you don't have a CD player, disc drive, DVD player, home stereo, car stereo, Walkman CD player, or other media playing device (that isn't a PS4 WTF Sony!! No Compact Disc support? Your first console literally ran full games on that technology, and you own at least one music label). If you don't have any of these things, you'll just spend your days wondering why no one told you that you needed something other than a CD to play the music you love. You'll get very frustrated, and probably complain to your cats, who never understand you the way that Robert used to.
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.
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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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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Great leap forward from debut. Songs are better, expanded and less pretentious (joke). It's like they gave a really good band a few joints and they made this. Songs are sharp and robust and blah, blah, blah - if you liked some of the singles rom the first record, I bet you'll dig this whole record. It's got a little bit of everything and it's all done well - and I dislike most things. Each record is better than the last.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Are we supposed to look with some kind of Marxist, I've-taken-philosophy-at-Columbia disdain at the model on the cover? Her daft look and polo shirt seem to epitomize the privileged, yuppie 20-somethings that are so often in VW's crosshairs, but the problem is the band is never quite far away enough from their own target. Clever, educated, and deeply appropriative in their musical and cultural references, VW is ultimately redeemed by their craft at turning out infectious pop songs. Most songs have interesting bridges, breakdowns, or C-parts and manage to be both obnoxiously catchy and surprisingly intelligent at the same time. A rare combination that lifts this band well above easy critiques of their evident class and cultural privilege and globetrotting sound. Or does it? I'm too busy chasing off the earworms that are their songs to be impartial.
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