Throwback Thursday – Is This It

Anyone who knows me well enough knows my undying love for the Strokes and all that they have done for music since they first came on to the scene. But even those who aren’t as crazed fans of them as I, can admit that Is This It is truly one of the best albums of the past decade. Since its release its not only served as the revival of the “post-garage rock” but it has also inspired acts like Kings of Leon, the Killers, Arctic Monkeys, and the Orwells.

What trademarks their style is the use of these percussive and distressed guitars that are so meticulous panned out in every one of their songs. Right from the opening track, there is such a relatable presence that is tremendously delightful. Casablancas nonchalantly sings in such a forthright manner about the simple matters of life, for it is what he knows best. The band accredits their inspiration for the album to be in the style of à la Velvet Underground and Lou Reed. The unconcealed sincerity and angst that lies in most of album really channels this 60s and 70s psychedelic vibe.

Long before the release of their debut album, the U.K. record label Rough Trade released an EP with their early demos of track like “Last Nite”, “The Modern Age”, and “Barely Legal.” Following the release of their EP they instantly turned them into an overnight sensation and were deemed by Rolling Stones as the “new kings of rock.”  Soon after that the internet and the newly acquired crazed fans created buzz for the release of this once underground New York rock act. The whole world was infatuated with their potential way before Is This It (2001) was even released.  Early critics of the Strokes declared that their rise to fame was overhyped and would only be short-lived.  Even more relentlessly, was when Moretti, Valensi, Fraiture, and Hammond were labeled off as just another collection of pretty-boys in boy band with rich fathers that bought them their success. Casablancas, on the other hand, was put under the most scrutiny for being the son of a highly successful model management mongul.

While some critics were preoccupied with their image, others praised the album as a distinguish masterpiece that would have a lasting impact on the music industry. Such has been true since it is now considered a classic amongst many. Critics from NME, along with Rolling Stone, have inducted it into their lists of “Best Album of the Decade (00s)” and “Best Debut Album.” Aside from its critically acclaimed success, this album has also lived through some historical moments. It was one of the many that experienced a delay in its release because of the tragedy that occurred to our nation on September 11. The original US release omitted the track “New York City Cops” and replaced it for “When it Started” for obvious reasons. Aside from its lasting impact, it has not cease to exist and will forever be appreciated.

Members of the Strokes continue to come together from time to time at major festivals across the global. Even with all their recent side projects, the band just recently release an EP with the hopes of full album under a new record label in the near future. Even after four albums since Is It This (2000), nothing has been as quite successful for them but the Strokes have managed to maintain a quite admirable career particularly with the way they continue to still sell-out their concert venues.  

About Brenda Herrera

I am just another music education major who practically lives in the Music Building. By day I am bassoonist but by night I am out trying to live that front row life at concerts I go to. When I am not practicing or trying to learn a new instrument I like to listen to all sorts of cool music.

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