Posted by: funk. | February 6, 2010

Album Review: Vampire Weekend’s Contra

If you haven’t heard of the band Vampire Weekend yet you must be living in a hole.  Don’t let the ultra-hipsters confuse you—just because the band is getting to be popular in the mainstream radio industry doesn’t mean that they suck.  Being a popular band doesn’t automatically make you suck.  Being really cool doesn’t automatically make you uncool.  Some people have this way of disliking a band after a bit because they start getting well known.  If this is a personality trait that you share, stop it because you’re missing out by not tilting an ear towards the direction of the radio that is playing “Horchata” on the radio.

Photo by Soren Solkaer Starbird

Contra is Vampire Weekend’s second full-length album doesn’t stray too far from the first self-titled album.  So haters beware, if you didn’t like the first one, you most likely aren’t going to like this one.  However, the calypso-y sound of Vampire Weekend and the marimbas plus the awesome beats seem to get me every time!  Contra is a more solid, tighter, and eccentric album by the band yet still retains the bands original, unique sound.  And, if I remember correctly, this album debuted at number one on Billboard.

Diplomat’s Son” samples M.I.A. and features an 8-bit interpolation of Toots and the Maytals‘ “Pressure Drop.”   It has a fun electronic/reggae feel to it. “Horchata” is the opening track that is reminiscent of the previous album that one can’t help but groove to.  The album ends with “I Think Ur a Contra” which is a track that separates itself from the pack.  It starts out with a simple beauty—Ezra Koenig singing above an aged piano and soft playing instruments that include violas, cellos, and violins.

On a side note, if you are wondering what “contra” means, they are a members of the guerrilla force that opposed a left-wing government in Nicaragua (princeton.edu). However, one can not help noticing the link to the word contradiction.  I really do think that this word helps gain insight into this album.  Although this album might seem light and happy-go-lucky, take a moment to listen to the words.  Ezra has something to society.  I am not gonna give you my opinion, take a listen for yourself.

RIYL:  Ra Ra Riot, Islands, The Shout Out Louds, Tokyo Police Club

Start With: 1, 2, 7, 9, 10

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