In 2001, the band The Strokes released arguably the best and most important alternative rock albums of the 2000s. It’s clean yet punk vibe changed the face of music. Much like how The Clash rewrote punk, Nirvana rewrote grunge and The Beatles rewrote rock.
This album is flawless all the way through. When you start listening, nothing can stop you. Plus, after you listen to one song, chances are it will be stuck in your head for days.
Originally, the band wrote the songs for the Is This It and only knew how to play those songs. Their thought process was if they just focused on these songs they would be very tight and impress people with how good they were. It worked.
Whether it’s Fabrizio Moretti’s simple drum beats, Albert Hammond Jr.’s guitar work or Julian Casablancas’ incredibly original voice that draws you in, after listening to the album, you can’t help but to love every single aspect of “The Strokes.”
For the album itself, it is hard to pick out a few best songs or even favorite songs, since the entire album is pretty much what one looks for when looking for a great alternative rock album. However, there are a few that I play the most.
The first song is the title track, Is This It. It is also the opening track on the album. This song immediately sucks you into their sound. When the second chorus hits and the bass line comes in, the hooks have sunk in and there is no escaping. The song never goes nuts, but gives the amazing and driving chill sound behind the album.
Someday is one of my most played songs. The line that always catches me is:
“I’ve been working so I don’t have to try to hard.”
I feel like it the defining line of all underground rock bands. The guitar and the bass play so well off each other in this song and you can’t help to dance a bit when you hear it.
The next song is “Last Nite”. Though it wasn’t the song that got me into the band it was the song that plunged me into this album. The rasp of Casablancas’ voice catches you right at the start. The song itself is a great story of, yes, last night. If you are looking to get into this album listen to this song first.
The next song is on all the vinyl, but not the CDs. The song is called New York City Cops. The chorus is “New York City Cops they ain’t to smart”. Unfortunately for the band, their hardest rocking song was taken off the album a few months after the release because of 9/11. Either way, it is one of my favorite Strokes songs.
The last song, which has closed many of their shows, is Take it or Leave It. This is the crowning rock song off the album after NYC Cops was taken off. The highlight of the album is Casablancas’ screaming the chorus and the hard rocking solo by Albert Hammond Jr. Needless to say it is the perfect way to end a perfect album.
Cameron Campbell is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]