As The Strokes prepare to release their sixth studio album, Getintothis’ Danni King reflects on their best records so far.
From indie disco anthems, to new takes on alternative-rock, The Strokes have given us it all over the past two decades.
Few debut albums can match the originality and reinvent a whole genre the way Is This It did in 2001. Still iconic today, it’s not hard to see why the album propelled them to popularity almost instantly.
Most would see that as their best, with nothing better to come, but The Strokes defied that.
Followed up by four equally as outstanding studio albums, they remain hugely popular across the world.
Comedown Machine debuted in 2013, then silence. Rumours began to circulate of when they’d return – or if they ever would.
4-song EP Future Present Past appeared in 2016, but it didn’t replace the need for a full album.
As the wish for a return to music started to get hopeless, they re-emerged onto the music circuit at a charity gig in LA, May 2019.
Reigniting hope, rumours begin circulating of new music, new albums, and tours.
Months passed, but New Years Eve in Brooklyn 2019, lead singer Julian Casablancas confirmed the comeback every fan was hoping for.
“Surprise! 2020 here we come. We took the 2010s – whatever the f*ck they’re called – we took them off, but now we’ve been unfrozen and we’re back.”
“If you really love someone you’ll be frozen with them”.
After a nearly seven year hiatus, The Strokes are back.
Lead single At The Door appeared on February 11, giving the first taste of The New Abnormal – their first album to be produced on Casablancas’ Cult Records.
Closely followed by Bad Decisions on February 18, alongside an accompanying music video.
Bad Decisions is unarguably one of their best songs to date. Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus appeared on April 6, giving fans just one last look at what’s to come.
All three singles show the band to be becoming more experimental but still keeping to their iconic sound.
If the new singles are setting the tone for the entire album, then its obvious that The Strokes are back, better than ever before.
— The Strokes (@thestrokes) April 6, 2020
With the album set to be released on April 10, we take a look back over their top 10 best from the past 15 years.
10. Someday from Is This It (2001)
Someday is probably the best example of a Strokes classic. Upbeat guitar lines, with a 60’s style dance bass line, it just invites you to dance.
Lyrics reminiscing over the past, mixed with more personal lines, “Oh, my ex says I’m lacking in depth”, makes it one of their more emotionally accessible songs.
Julian Casablancas’ tone adds to the feel of the lyrics; deeper in certain parts, with extra emphasis on honest lyrics, “Oh, I ain’t wasting no more time”.
All mixed together, making Someday a timeless classic.
9. Bad Decisions from The New Abnormal (2020)
Their newest song, but immediately popular.
The song title, alongside the fact Billy Idol is credited as a co-writer makes you intrigued to find out more.
Incorporating elements of Idol‘s Dancing With Myself, Bad Decisions is the ultimate music comeback – it can be played anywhere, and it makes you want to sing along.
The Strokes’ seven year hiatus clearly didn’t affect their abilities; a classic Strokes’ sound with guitar leads taking centre stage, catchy lyrics accompanied by a progressively intense drum beat.
If Bad Decisions is anything to go by, The New Abnormal will live up to all expectations.
8. All The Time from Comedown Machine (2013)
Comedown Machine was their most ’80s-sounding album, apart from the curveball that is All The Time.
In contrast to the rest of the album, it was the most classic Strokes sound; it would’ve fitted in perfectly on Is This It.
All The Time sticks with their classic guitar solos taking centre stage, a steady drum beat, and Casablancas’ vocals drifting across the noise.
It’s unmistakably vintage Strokes, capturing a sound which makes you want to click repeat as soon as it’s over with.
7. You Only Live Once from First Impressions of Earth (2006)
The perfect album opener, You Only Live Once generates excitement from the first chord.
It aims to highlight the fallacies humans often share, with emphasis on taking life too seriously – The Strokes capture it perfectly.
Aiming to tell a story almost, while deliberately generating feelings through honest lyrics makes You Only Live Once one of their more meaningful songs – yet, never losing that recognisable sound of thrilling guitar work.
6. Undercover Of Darkness from Angles (2011)
Undercover of Darkness was a highly-anticipated return to music for The Strokes after nearly six years.
Intertwining the likes of Hard To Explain and Last Nite, Undercover of Darkness sounds ultimately effortless for Manhattan’s coolest band.
Whilst it was criticised for not updating The Strokes’ sound, Undercover of Darkness just proved that their iconic sound could be never changing without becoming out of date.
5. 12:51 from Room On Fire (2003)
A great Strokes moment, 12:51 demonstrates a more intimate side to their music.
Casablancas’ vocals become more timid, and their sound becomes slower.
Nick Valensi’s creation of making his guitar sound like a synthesised keyboard is genius, it keeps the originality of The Strokes, but proves experimentation goes a long way.
Casablancas revealed 12:51 was heavily Influenced by Sonic Youth‘s Bull In The Heather, so much so that they were concerned it sounded like a rip-off of the 1994 hit, but it appears they mastered the art of taking ideas and reconstructing them into their own.
4. New York City Cops from Is This It (2001)
An eerie beginning, but capturing your attention within the first 20 seconds – you know this will end up being your new favourite song.
Is This It is full of stand out songs, yet New York City Cops generates thoughts; there’s an underlying message to these words, you can feel it.
For a feature on a first album, New York City Cops is undeniably genius.
If you weren’t sold on The Strokes beforehand, this song would definitely change that.
3. Juicebox from First Impressions of Earth (2006)
Moving away from their usual upbeat intro’s, Juicebox proposes a more sinister beginning, creating an original and suspenseful start. Casablancas’ vocals take no backseat on this one, as they come ripping straight through at full capacity prompting you to listen to what he’s got to say.
“Why won’t you come over here?” the lyric which commands attention, with Fabrizio Moretti’s drums accompanying it to make Juicebox a stand-out tune.
2. Reptilia from Room On Fire (2003)
From the first 10 seconds of Reptilia, it’s obvious this song is going to make it to your playlist.
A captivating intro with The Strokes’ recognisable guitar lead counter-acting monotone vocals provokes a reaction from the listener.
It’s intriguing, as the build up to the chorus intensifies, you await the outburst of lyrics never short of originality.
Featuring an unforgettable guitar solo, which even at a live show the crowd sings along to unknowingly, Reptilia is certainly one The Strokes’ greatest.
1.Last Nite from Is This It (2001)
With that riff, and that melody, Last Nite is possibly their most famous track.
The progressively intense intro remains ingrained in your memory, as it rips into Casablancas’ vocals at their best – a strong New York twang, accompanied by a guitar presence no one can forget.
One of the biggest stand-outs of Is This It, whenever and wherever you are when this comes on, it provides an irresistible urge to stay and listen – it’s instantly recognisable, and never gets old.