Vampire Weekend’s second album is a quirky little thing that has set 2010 off in high form. For sure it’s pop music, but with the kind of weirdness that Eurythmics put into their first two big albums. Vampire Weekend turn pop music on its ear with Contra by mixing 80’s sensibilities with world sounds and creating something that sounds completely from the Northeast. From the uber-cute “Horchata” to the etherial “I Think Ur A Contra,” the band’s newest utterly destroys the sophomore jinx. Here is an album catchy enough to blast at the douchiest of parties yet arty enough to keep most of the snobs in love for a few months. (Check out the iTunes version as it comes with an incredible bonus track – “Giant”.)
OK Go have become known more for their inventive videos than their music and this is unfortunate. Their first album was a wonderful slab of 90’s alternative homage and while their sophomore effort — “Oh No” — was a hodgepodge of various pop methods, it still had a few great songs on it. This time around they attempt a more psychedelic funk approach that works on most songs like “WTF?” and “White Knuckles” but turns a bit boring on tracks like “Skyscrapers” and “End Love.” In between are the OK Go we are familiar — guitar pop with keyboard washes and fuzz bass. There are even a couple of nice ballads at the end. The highlight here is the marching band & choir influenced beauty that is “This Too Shall Pass.” It’s all killer chorus and earnest verses which gives hope in what is to come from the band now that they have left the confines of a major record label.