Artist – Album: The Strokes – Is This It
Released: 30th July 2001
Sounds Like: This is it
Is This It was the first game changing record of the 21st century. It sold bucketloads worldwide, contained three awesome singles and topped most end-of-year - and even end-of-decade - lists. It made it cool again to let your hair grow scruffy and long, to squeeze into a pair of the skinniest, crotch framing jeans possible and to strum away at your electric guitar. It paved the way for the success of The Libertines, Kings of Leon and Franz Ferdinand (admittedly by pilfering quite liberally from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Television and Tom Petty), and single-handedly made alternative rock cool again. Which is not too shabby for a debut.
Some of its success can be put down to the fact that it was brought to us by five good looking, hip New Yoikers, and it certainly helped to have such a celebrated list of influences, but ultimately it did well because it so good in itself. With a selection of songs as good as this it simply couldn’t fail. ‘Last Nite’ is the perfect encapsulation their sound: driving beats, explorative bass, whining guitars and Julian Casablancas’ laidback, cool delivery. Singling out one track over the others doesn’t really do it justice though, as they’re all special: ‘Is This It’, ‘The Modern Age’, ‘Soma’, ‘Someday’, ‘Hard to Explain’ and ‘Take It or Leave It’, they're all great.
Following the abominable terrorist attack by Al Qaeda on the Twin Towers the September after this album’s release, the Officer Krupke-style police bashing ‘New York City Cops’ – featuring the chorus of “New York City cops, they ain’t so smart” – was understandably pulled from the US version of the record. The seismic effect of 9/11 causes me to refrain from calling the album one that changed the world; however, it's impossible to deny the huge impact it had on 21st century popular music.
Albumaday... rating: 10/10
1. Is This It – 2:35
2. The Modern Age – 3:32
3. Soma – 2:38
4. Barely Legal – 3:54
5. Someday – 3:07
6. Alone, Together – 3:12
7. Last Nite – 3:18
8. Hard to Explain – 3:48
9. New York City Cops – 3:36
10. Trying Your Luck – 3:28
11. Take It or Leave It – 3:16
Listen to ‘Trying Your Luck’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCTobvdsxo
Also released on the 30th July:
2002: Bruce Springsteen – The Rising