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Is This It

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Album Review

Blessed and cursed with an enormous amount of hype from the British press, the Strokes prove to be one of the few groups deserving of their glowing reviews. Granted, their high-fashion appeal and faultless influences — Television, the Stooges, and especially Lou Reed and the Velvets — have "critics' darlings" written all over them. But like the similarly lauded Elastica and Supergrass before them, the Strokes don't rehash the sounds that inspire them — they remake them in their own image. On the Modern Age EP, singles like Hard to Explain, and their full-length debut, Is This It, the N.Y.C. group presents a pop-inflected, second-generation take on late-'70s New York punk, complete with raw, world-weary vocals, spiky guitars, and an insistently chugging backbeat. However, their songs also reflected their own early-twenties lust for life; singer/songwriter/guitarist Julian Casablancas and the rest of the band mix swaggering self-assurance with barely concealed insecurity on "The Modern Age" and reveal something akin to earnestness on "Barely Legal" — a phrase that could apply to the Strokes themselves — in the song's soaring choruses. The group revamps "Lust for Life" on "New York City Cops" and combines their raw power and infectious melodies on "Hard to Explain," arguably the finest song they've written in their career. Nearly half of Is This It consists of their previously released material, but that's not really a disappointment since those songs are so strong. What makes their debut impressive, however, is that the new material more than holds its own with the tried-and-true songs. "Is This It" sets the joys of being young, jaded, and yearning to a wonderfully bouncy bassline; "Alone Together" and "Trying Your Luck" develop the group's brooding, coming-down side, while "Soma," "Someday," and "Take It or Leave It" capture the Strokes at their most sneeringly exuberant. Able to make the timeworn themes of sex, drugs, and rock & roll and the basic guitars-drum-bass lineup seem new and vital again, the Strokes may or may not be completely arty and calculated, but that doesn't prevent Is This It from being an exciting, compulsively listenable debut. [In light of the World Trade Center disaster, the track "New York City Cops" was pulled from the U.S. release].

Customer Reviews

This, indeed, is it

The defining factor of a truly great record is one that can make you feel, one that speaks to you, one that heroically plucks you from cold, heartless reality and puts you in heaven every three minutes; 'To me my life don't make sense' singer Jules sings in 'Barely Legal'; 'In spaceships they won't understand' he sobs in the fantastic 'Last Night'. The Strokes' 'Is this It' was the first of the 21st century to do such: it is a sharp, short collection of incredibly catchy tunes delivered with almost impossible elegance by a bunch of gracefully wasted, tight, cool boys from NYC. 'Is this It' is the next step in the long evolution of modern pop music, is exactly how to borrow from the past without totally rehashing it and is very accessible: it's a formula many have emulated/imitated but almost none have truly grasped. Is this It: 9/10 The Modern Age: 10/10 Soma: 9/10 Barely Legal: 8/10 Someday: 10/10 Alone, Together: 8/10 Last Night: 10/10 Hard to Explain: 10/10 NYC Cops: 10/10 Trying Your Luck: 9/10 Take it or Leave It: 9/10 Overall: 9.3/10


the best album of our time


An absolutely amazing album, not one bad thing about it so many fantastic tunes on it, one of those albums that will be remebered for generations to come Buy this now if you dont have it!!!


Formed: 1998 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Equally inspired by classic tunesmiths like Buddy Holly and John Lennon and the street-smart attitude and angular riffs of fellow New Yorkers Television and the Velvet Underground, the Strokes were also equally blessed and cursed with an enormous amount of hype -- particularly from the U.K. music press, whose adulation for the group rivaled their fervor for Oasis in the early '90s. Barely in their twenties by the time their debut album, Is This It, arrived in 2001, singer/songwriter Julian Casablancas,...
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