Vampire Weekend – Contra
I came into this one with an open mind. I did the whole “I love these guys,” “These guys are overrated,” “This is a great record even though it is overrated” circuit when theirtled debut was released in 2008, and now I'm listening to their sophomore record and I am realizing that I was pretty much right when I predicted that their debut would be as far as they could go without embarassing themselves. And while they haven't embarrassed themselves here too much, they sure as hell have made a boring ass record.
I really don't know who this is supposed to appeal to other than people who like boring music that plods along and incorporates pretty little melodies here and there. I admire their change in direction and their great effort to not make the same record twice, but they cut out everything that I liked about the last record and honestly, Contra feels like a husk. It feels like the absolute bare minimum. And really, it's a nice record. It's harmless, suburban, and the definition of milquetoast. It's music for the background, for the elevator! It's tolerable and ignorable and demands absolutely no attention...with the exception of the music critics who are determined to call this a success when I'm really hoping it's just a sophomore slump.
I'm hoping it's a sophomore slump because I want Vampire Weekend to make another record full of killer pop songs that are so good I don't care that they're copping African rhythms or whatever. Seriously, though, I'm not trying to be an iconoclast or anything. This is just a shitty record. At first I thought they were just being subtle, but upon further listens I realized they were just full of shit. I haven't lost hope, I think maybe they'll put out another fine record but this is just so misguided that I'm having a hard time even ignoring it when it's on.
I won't lie though, I really like this video for "Cousins" and Vampire Weekend's getting British TV stars to direct their videos.