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The album of the 2000’s

December 20, 2009

‘And all together it went well

We made pretend we were best friends

Then she said “oh you’re a freak”

“They ordered me to make mistakes”

Together again, like the beginning

It all works somehow in the end

The things you did, the thing you hide

For the record it’s between you and I’

from’ Barely Legal

The album that permanently left its mark on me during this decade is The Strokes’ ‘Is this it?’.

The first time I heard of the Strokes was during a 2 week language trip I did in Lowestoft, England, in 2001.  With a group of French teenagers, we spent most of our time listening to our CD players, chatting about music, and sharing albums. A girl from my class had bought ‘Is this it?’ from the second-hand record store located in front of our school; drums and electric guitars playing loudly through her headphones, she told me with a gleeful face that these sounds were produced by a band called the Strokes. At that time, I was keen on Jamaican music and 2-tone, and uninterested in rock music, so didn’t ask to borrow her CD.

My knowledge of the Strokes remained undeveloped until a few years later (around 2006), when a friend of mine lent me the CD, and I finally was open-minded enough to give it a try. I sat on my desk, and played it. Instantly, the first song, ‘Is this it?’, intrigued me, as I had never heard anything like it.

Casablancas’ juvenile and mild voice,  the catchy guitars, the laid-back but lively melodies, and the lyrics about a youth’s daily life, sometimes mysterious and abstruse, yet always authentic

For all those reasons, I listened to the album over and over, three to five times a day, often twice in a row. I seldom like all the songs from an album. ‘Is this it?’ was the first album I could listen to repeatedly, loving (or liking) each of its tracks.

‘Is this it?’ had an amazingly fresh attitude; I admired the band’s coolness (and to be honest, also the way the dressed, hence my habit to wear ties). Genuine, bold, effortlessly brilliant; so were the Strokes.

My two favourite tracks:

  • ‘Barely legal’: this song begins gently, and then an unforgettable chorus follows (see the beginning of the article)

  • ‘Hard to explain’: making sense can be tough

Where are they now?

The Strokes were aged from 21 to 23 when they made that album; the following albums did not equal the quality of ‘Is this it?’, except for some songs. Cf 12:51 and You only live once.

Albert Hammond Junior made two great albums; Julian Casablancas released his solo album in December 09 and is currently on a world tour.

The band is to reunite and record a new album soon; with each member solo’s experience, 2010 could be the beginning of a new successful creative cycle for the band.

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