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Every Vampire Weekend Album Ranked Worst to Best

Vampire Weekend seems to be a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” type of band. Which kind of makes no sense. They’re talented, fun and catchy. What’s not to like? They’re overall pretty inoffensive, and we don’t mean that in a negative way. We mean it in the way that Peanut Butter and Jelly is an inoffensive sandwich. But let’s be real: it’s still an absolute banger of a sandwich. All depends on the jelly. Peanut butter seems like it’s hard to fuck up. Definitely had shitty jelly, but peanut butter seems pretty straightforward. At that point, it’s really a question of crunchy or creamy. And honestly, that’s up to who’s making it. Because either is delicious, but crunchy is a real pain in the ass to spread. Anyways, here’s the Vampire Weekend album rankings.

5. Contra (2010)

What made their debut so fun and listenable just two years earlier was the mix of fun and catchy pop songs with a variety of sounds that were very openly taken from different musical styles and cultures. But Vampire Weekend’s sophomore effort “Contra” kinda feels like they left out the passion and just went “what if we really Paul Simon’d this shit out of this?” Because what it mostly lacks is authenticity. While their debut came off as college kids having fun with different styles at first, “Contra” sounds more like grad students trying to explain a different culture to a person from that culture. They probably get a few things right, and sure it seems like their heart is in the right place. But c’mon. Read the room, bro. Read the room.

Play it again: “Horchata” “White Sky”
Skip it: “California English”

4. Father of the Bride (2019)

After the release of “Modern Vampires,” the band amicably split with keyboard player and co-composer of pretty much all their stuff, Rostam Batmanglij. The first album without a seminal member of a band is always gonna be tough. Do you hire someone new and better and show that you’re just as good? Or do you write a bunch of songs that don’t feature what that former member did, and prove you genuinely don’t need them? Well if you’re our Weekend Vampires, you do neither and instead go for quantity. Of what, you ask? Literally everything. Songs, guests, instruments. “Father of the Bride” goes hard on all those things. And the results are mixed. Some great songs, some not-so-great songs, but overall too many songs. The single “This Life” is honestly one of the band’s best, and the lyrics are clever and depressing, one of our favorite combos at ye olde Hard Times. But by the second half of the album just drags so much. And that’s not the vibe bro. That’s just not the vibe.

Play it again: “This Life” “Unbearably White”
Skip it: “Sympathy”

3. Self-Titled (2008)

Out of the blue, this band was everywhere. The radio. The internet. Late-night talk shows. SNL. Absolutely everywhere. Not only that, but they were also adorable. And their songs were catchy and danceable. There was a semi-punk sensibility to what they were doing while also not having a classic punk sound at all. Anyone who saw them live said the energy was infectious. 2008 was a big year for “indie rock”, whatever that might have meant back then. Frightened Rabbit, Tv on the Radio, and The Hold Steady all put out good albums that year. So with Wes Anderson-style videos, radio-friendly tracks, and a name that, at the time, seemed annoying as shit, it’d be easy to hate this album. But nah. Because sometimes the pool party calls for Entombed’s “Left Hand Path.” But sometimes you just need catchy jams that are fun. And this band is fun, bro. This band is fun.

Play it again: “Mansard Roof” “M79” “Oxford Comma”
Skip it: “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”

2. Only God Was Above Us (2024)

We definitely didn’t have Vampire Weekend’s most recent album being their second-best album on our bingo cards. Yet here we are. It definitely feels like they learned some lessons with the last album. This album feels sad and fun in the ways that their debut and MVIC were. The band also feels in on it. They know what they are. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They just want the wheel to fucking go. That said, new albums can be a trap. Perspective changes over time, so we could easily see ourselves looking back in a few years and not loving it. But at the moment, this album is killing it. While after a listen, “Father of the Bride” had that feeling of “huh… maybe it’ll grow on me,” “Only God was Above Us” ends with us genuinely wishing it wasn’t over. Vampire Weekend is back, bro! Grab your boat shoes,Vampire Weekend is back!

Play it again: “Capricorn” “Prep-School Gangsters”
Skip it: “The Surfer”

1. Modern Vampires of the City (2014)

This album is the soundtrack to a specific party in a specific area of NYC at a specific time in history. And let’s be honest: you weren’t at that party. To be clear, neither were we. But we all wanted to be. We can pretend we don’t care. We can act like we weren’t looking at the pictures everyone at the party was posting on Facebook, but we were. We all were. Oh, Brad and Sarah were there? Huh. How come they knew about the party but we didn’t? Whatever, doesn’t matter. We don’t even wanna go out. Which is great. Because instead of being at that party, we were at home. Laundry piled up. Fridge smelling like death. “Boondocks Saints” poster on the wall. Or maybe by now it was a Tarantino film, maybe a protest poster. Either way, whatever emotion it evoked in us when we put it up there hasn’t been felt in this aging skin suit for at least a year. Binge-watching “West Wing,” or “Sex and the City,” or “The Wire.” Eating a whole bag of Tostitos with a hint of lime in our pajamas. We call them our pajamas, but they’re gym shorts that we bought on that one day we thought we might start exercising. And as we click on the video someone posted of everyone having an awesome time at the party we weren’t told about, we see the sweaty mess of absurdly attractive humans dancing, smiling, and singing “If Diane Young won’t change your mind, baby, baby, baby, baby, right on time.” And we smile. We know that song. So we put on “Modern Vampires in the City” and quietly sob to ourselves. That’s why we love this album. It’s a looking glass into the world we were never part of. And we never will be, bro. We never will be.

Play it again: “Step” “Don’t Lie” “Unbelievers”
Skip it: “Finger Back”