Lots has happened since then, including the departure of key band member Rostam Batmanglij and a relationship between frontman Ezra Koenig and one of my celebrity girlfriends, Rashida Jones, which resulted in the birth of their first child last summer.
#16 – Vampire Weekend – Contra
Vampire Weekend has released two excellent albums in the 10s (with more to come, I can only assume). They are the rare band that showed complete mastery of their craft from the very beginning.
Each of their three records is focused and confident, nodding (sometimes very obviously) to influences but converting them into something fresh and unique.
Vampire Weekend had a huge 2008, when their debut album took the critical world by storm and their fresh, smart sound felt like something brand-new even as it reached back to 80s-era Paul Simon.
2010 was a different story, at least in terms of the hype. The band released their sophomore album, Contra, early in the year and made nary a wave, despite the fact that it’s a brilliant piece of work, expanding on and deepening the vibe they created on their debut.
I’ve avoided highlighting any songs off of Vampire Weekend’s sophomore album Contra the past few months for a rather silly reason.
I do a ‘top ten songs of the year’ countdown at the end of the year and I don’t want to burn one of these great tracks now and be unable to feature it in December.
Because I know without a doubt that something from this album will be on my list of favorite 2010 songs. It’s a wonderful piece of work.
The concept of the sophomore slump is particularly valid in the music world, where many a promising debut is followed by something head-scratching or, worse, boring.
Often the artist spent years building up to the first release, honing the perfect batch of songs into something meaningful and thought out. And once the debut is a hit, pressure comes from the label (not to mention fans) to put out something else right away. So the result is a hastily thrown together group of songs, often chronicling the experience of fame itself, something nobody really cares to hear about.