Album Review: The Strokes – Is This It

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“Is This It” by New York Rock band, The Strokes is hands down one of my top five favorite albums of all time if it is not THE top album. I picked up this album at the Hastings store during a trip to Roswell, New Mexico along with a few other CD’s. I bought the CD because I recognized the album art from somewhere before, and at the time I had purchased “Is This It”, I really didn’t have any idea how much it would eventually mean to me. If I am being honest, I really didn’t pay much attention to the album after I had bought it and I honestly forgot I had even gotten it… I truly did not start listening to the album until about four months later when my friend was listening to the album in his car. I asked him what band we we were listening to and he pointed to the “Is This It” CD case in his car. The entire rest of the car ride we talked about the album, and when I got home I put my copy into my PlayStation 2 and I listened to it on repeat for days. The Strokes have- to this day been a staple in the best friendship I have ever had.

What makes this album so good is The Strokes themselves. Every instrument perfectly compliments one another and you never really feel over whelmed by a particular instrument being too high in the mix. Each instrument comes together as one in the overall sound and creates a brilliant and pleasing symphony. Even Julian Casablancas, the singer and primary songwriter for The Strokes, keeps his voice at a solid level in the mix and even keeps the sound of his voice unique with a good amount of lo-fi distortion on his vocals that is just perfect. The lyrics on this album are very “book smart” and “street smart” and this is very apparent on tracks like “Soma” and “Someday”. The guitarists, Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi, tend to alternate between being lead and rhythm guitarists from song to song which keeps things fresh. The two compliment each other perfectly, even when a chaotic guitar solo is taking place, the other is there to play the rhythm chords to back it up. The riffs themselves are considered works of art to my ears. When you can sing along to every syllable of this album as I can, you tend to begin singing along to each guitar riff as well. Then you have the rhythm section of Fabrizio Moretti, the drummer, and Nikolai Fraiture, the bassist. These two especially when working together really back up the vocals of Julian Casablancas on tracks like “Alone Together” and “Is This It”. Each drum beat is spot on and full of emotion yet tight and mechanical at the same time. The bass lines are never dull and they really establish the identity of The Strokes’ indescribable musical style.

All in all, a phenomenal and insanely influential album as well as a landmark album in 21st century rock history. Both sides on the album are flawless, innovative, fuzzy, youthful and modern. “Is This It” still sounds just as great as it did the day it was recorded, and with its insane replay value, I believe it will continue to stand the test of time.

Release Date: 2001

Genres: Garage Rock Revival, Post-Punk Revival, Indie Rock

Tracklist:

  1. Is This It
  2. The Modern Age
  3. Soma
  4. Barely Legal
  5. Someday
  6. Alone Together
  7. Last Nite
  8. Hard to Explain
  9. New York City Cops (Vinyl)/When It Started (CD/Digital)
  10. Trying Your Luck
  11. Take It or Leave It

Track Highlights: See Tracklist

i. e. 10/10

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