Saturday, September 13, 2008

IS THIS IT-The Strokes

Is This It-
The Strokes
Status-Out as of 2001
Rating-3.5 Feathers

With the release of the ‘Modern Age EP’ this New York band became one of the biggest things around which sparked record label wars and a great schism between fans over their newfound hype. Soon after this release, they signed to RCA and released their debut album ‘Is This It’. ‘Is This It’ commences the album. The beginning electro-sound effect thing is pretty catchy, but it quickly turns to an old-time-y drum beat. Due to the fact that the song is a tad dull, it doesn’t really set the proper tone for the album. ‘The Modern Age’ is by far my favourite song on the album. Tough it’s a bit repetitive, the twangy delivery is definitely a plus. The semi-strange guitar solo in the middle of it adds a sort of flair that it was previously missing. Even though the song is good, ‘Soma’ like the others,is very redundant. You must be thinking by this point on the album ‘Do they like to pick on riff and play it over and over without end?’ The basic tune is alright, just nothing special. ‘Barely Legal’ also has recurring melody, but it’s infectiously catchy. What really makes the song is the quasi-chorus bit where he starts ‘And all together it went well’. ‘Someday’ is a retro-twangy tale about ‘the good old days’, ‘when (they) was young’. It’s one of the better songs off the album, but as I said, the basic song structure doesn’t really vary too much. You cannot deny the hooks, though. At first, you think ‘Alone Together’(s) going to be great, but when he sings, the instruments backing the vocals are downright obnoxious. As he said, ‘we all like it a little different’, and I must agree. ‘Last Nite’: now that’s one of those songs where if you haven’t heard it by now, you’re very far from reality. It’s a real poppy tune, which you can easily see how it’s the hit of The Strokes’s career, but I personally feel it’s just a bit long. ‘Hard to Explain’ is not very good, especially the god-forsakenly annoying drum-line. I cannot stand it mainly because it sounds far over processed and it sounds like a drum machine, not proper drums. Julian’s vocals are unquestionably the only reason why this song ever had hopes of becoming a hit. ‘When it Started’ sounds like a rock band that was trying not to let the 80’s influence effect their music. The unfortunate part is that it did over come this song, but in a clean, simple, and almost likeable way. It surely sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the album, but it’s a lot better than the previous. ‘Trying Your Luck’ is nice and calm, but as usual, it’s too repetitive. After listening to it, you don’t realize you were supposed to be listening to something, which doesn’t lead to that great of expectations. ‘Take It or Leave It’ is the absolute perfect way to close this album. The guitar line, though very simple, is the work of a brilliant man. Julian gets extremely into it, which helps the album go out with a bang. As you can see, I’m one of those fans who proper understands that the band deserves a big chunk of the hype that was surrounding them, but who doesn’t understand why they were the ‘next big thing’ for a while. The Strokes really just have to learn to vary their song structure a bit, instead of, in the words of Jim Morrison, make it ‘recurring eternally forever’. Their sound is very original and retro, so let’s hope this isn’t it for them.
"It's so easy for people to jump to the wrong conclusions when they've only heard one three song EP. While we are really appreciative of some of the comparisons we have been given, it is not the full picture. Hopefully when the album comes out people will realise it isn't just some New York thing and that it is a lot more universal than that."-Fab Moretti

Live performance for Last Nite

The Strokes Official Website
Note: As you noticed, I didn't put on the official videos for the video things because I really didn't like any of them, at all. I chose the performance for Last Nite from Later With Jools Holland because I thought it was really good and the Official video for Last Nite was a live performance anyway. Over the next few days/weeks I'll have a review put for A Perfect Circle, The Fratellis, and the next Strokes album. Maybe i'll have others. Stay posted and I hope you enjoy!


PoliticianRock said...

This is a very fair review. I've never been a fan of the Strokes nor have I ever understood the hype that surrounded them. They had this one critically acclaimed album, had one hit a little later, and have pretty much burned out. Their next album will be a make-or-break affair for them, and it's pretty obvious that Hammond Jr. isn't great at writing solo material.

Double Hawk said...

Politician: I like The Strokes, but they aren't really that amazing, if you will. In my opinion, their next album was a lot better than this, but First Impressions of earth seemed a little off. I agree with the 4th album deal, and I agree that Albert Hammond JR isn't meant to do solo work.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I dig the Strokes.....I personally didn't like the second CD as well as I liked the first.

Kings of Leon: they have a new CD coming out at the end of this month. I've heard it, and really like the new stuff.......much different from the older Kings of Leon.....just a heads up-thought maybe you could do a review on them :o)

Double Hawk said...

Wayfaring: I personally prefer Room on Fire to Is This It, only because Room On Fire has less repetitiveness, if you know what I mean. I'll gladly take the Kings of Leon request. I'm personally not a big fan, but I'll definately think about it.

Arnold Layne said...

I completely agree with what you said on Trying Your Luck, where you didn't realize that you were supposed to be listening to the song. I like the Strokes, but if you're not paying full attention when listening to the album, all of the songs just mass together into one big mush and at the end of the album you ask yourself, "That was it?" My favorite song is Last Nite, but even though that's a great song, I don't see why they became the "next big thing" for it.

Double Hawk said...

Arnie: There are a few really fantastic songs on here, but as you said, a good chunk are mush.
I thought every one was going to hate me for giving The Strokes a somewhat bad review. I'm surprised everyone seems to agree with me!

Lily Hydrangea said...

I'm not surprised everyone agrees with you. Like Politician said, it was a fair review. I think that is why you are a good critic.
You have a really neat site happening when your comments section has a thoughtful dialogue like the one going on here.
Keep up the good work Double Hawk.

Double Hawk said...

LH: It was one of those situations where I really wanted to give a good review of it, but I would have been a phony giving it a great review when it didn't really deserve it. I love all the comments, especially when they're like this!