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The Strokes: Take it or Leave it

Image+Courtesy+of+www.thestrokes.com
Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

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Did you know you can change your mood simply by changing the song? An organized group of specific sequences of vibrations triggers dopamine to be released in the brain, which alters your mood. That doesn’t sound very fun, but that’s what music is; a specific sequence of vibrations.  Music messes with our brains, it messes with our feelings. You feel sad after listening to a sad song, excited when you listen to something fast or energetic… You time travel in your mind when you hear a song you haven’t heard in a while. Music is a peculiar thing. We all have our favorite sounds we like to hear. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of a band called The Strokes…

The Strokes are a group of guys from New York City. Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture, Fabrizio Moretti, Albert Hammond Jr. and Julian Casablancas formed the band in 1998. Julian, Nick, Nikolai, and Fabrizio all met each other in New York; Julian met Albert at school in Switzerland and Albert later joined the band when he moved to New York. They started playing in smaller venues in NYC and were working on their first album when they released the EP “The Modern Age” in the United Kingdom.  It was a huge hit. It was released on January 29, 2001 in the United Kingdom and May 22, 2001 in the United States, sparking a bidding war among record labels; the largest for a rock band in years. The songs were all re-recorded for their debut album, Is This It, released later that year, and the band was on their way to stardom.

DISCOGRAPHY

Is This It (2001)  

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

About: Is This It is The Strokes’ first album, it was released on July 30, 2001 in Australia, August 22 in Japan, August 27 in the UK and September 25 in the US. Because the album was released a few days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the band chose to replace the song “New York City Cops” with “When It Started” for the US version of the album.

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Art: The art was changed for the US release to a subatomic particle in a bubble chamber (top) because the band liked it better than the other picture. Julian called the band’s manager and told him he “found something even cooler than the ass picture (bottom).”

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks:

  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”/When It Started”
  10. “Trying Your Luck”
  11. “Take It Or Leave It”

 

My opinion: I give this album a 5/5. This is one of their best albums in my opinion. The album has a sound different to other stuff from that time. It has a nostalgic and almost sad feeling to it. This whole album is great, but I think “New York City Cops” and “Take It Or Leave It” are two of the songs I like the most; these songs have an energetic, fast paced sound and probably the best guitar solos on the album.

 

Room On Fire (2003)

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

About: This is the band’s second album. It was released in October 28, 2003. The band recorded with their original producer Gordon Raphael. Along with keeping the original producer, the band kept their original sound only now they were more experienced and it was less punk than the previous album. The fact that they only had three months of studio time to record may explain why this is the shortest album they’ve put out.

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Art: The cover art for this album is a painting made by Peter Phillips. The original painting is about the Civil War, but that’s not what the album is about.

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks:

  1. “What Ever Happened?”
  2. “Reptilia”
  3. “Automatic Stop”
  4. “12:51”
  5. “You Talk Way Too Much”
  6.  “Between Love & Hate”
  7.  “Meet Me In The Bathroom”
  8.  “Under Control”
  9. “The Way It Is”
  10.   “The End Has No End’
  11.   “I Can’t Win”

 

My opinion: I give this one a 4/5. It’s a good album and all of its songs are good, it just feels a bit slow sometimes. This is like a second part to Is This It because it provokes the same feelings of nostalgia and sadness. The synth sounding guitar in “12:51” and the energy from “Reptilia” are what makes these two songs my favorite.

 

First Impressions of Earth (2006)

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

About: First Impressions Of Earth was released on the third of January in 2006. This album has a completely different sound to their first two albums, but not without losing the familiar “Strokes” vibe the first two albums had. They were originally going to record this album with the same producer, but later decided to record it with David Kahne. The band recorded this  over a ten month period and is the longest album they’ve put out.

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Art: This art is based off of a piece called “Schwarz-Rot” made by he artist Lothar Quinte in 1966. The original piece is essentially the same with a few differences: the original only has half of the lines and they’re over a black circle that looks like the shadow of a planet in space.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks:

  1. “You Only Live Once”
  2. “JuiceBox”
  3. “Heart In A Cage”
  4. “Razorblade”
  5. “On The Other Side”
  6. “Vision Of Division”
  7. “Ask Me Anything”
  8. “Electricityscape”
  9. “Killing Lies”
  10. “Fear Of Sleep”
  11. “15 Minutes”
  12. “Ize Of The World”
  13. “Evening Sun”
  14. “Red Light”

 

My opinion: I give this one a 3/5. It’s a bit too long, all the songs are good, just a bit boring sometimes. This is the beginning of them experimenting more with their sound. “Ize Of The World” and “Vision Of Division” are my favorite songs from the album. Ize has some of their best guitar work and some of their best lyrics, VoD has that energy from the first two albums but the music is more complicated.

 

Angles (2011)

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

About: After returning from a hiatus, the band recorded and released Angles on March 26, 2011, not all in one day of course. The band essentially broke up and everything released after the third album was either because the record label made them put something out or because they needed the money. The band recorded all the music without the singer, then Casablancas recorded the vocals separately after the music was recorded.

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Art: I think this art represents how everyone in the band has different views on what they want. In the end you end up with a weird picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks:

  1. “Machu Picchu”
  2. “Under Cover Of Darkness”
  3. “Two Kinds Of Happiness”
  4. “You’re So Right”
  5. “Taken For A Fool”
  6. “Games”
  7. “Call Me Back”
  8. “Gratisfaction”
  9. “Metabolism”
  10. “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight”

 

My opinion: I give this one 5/5, although this isn’t their best album, the album isn’t too long. The overall mood of the album is kinda sad, to me at least. “Games” and “Call Me Back” are my favorite songs on this album. “Games” is one of the weirdest song they have, and that’s why I like it, the main instruments are bass, drums and keyboard (instruments which the band rarely uses). Half way through the song they revisit a melody they had come up with when they were just starting out. “Call Me Back” is the song right after “Games,” it has a calm and sad feeling to it, I enjoy sad music sometimes.

 

Comedown Machine (2013)

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

About: This album shouldn’t exist, they only put it out because their label made them. The band never talks about it and they’ve only played three of the songs live:  Welcome to Japan, One Way Trigger and Happy Ending. Because the band never talks about this album, there is very little information about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

Art: This art shows that this album was released because RCA wanted them to put something out. It’s a big ol’ “Fu*k you” to RCA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tracks:

  1. “Tap Out”
  2. “All The Time”
  3. “One Way Trigger”
  4. “Welcome To Japan”
  5. “80’s Comedown Machine”
  6. “50/50”
  7. “Slow Animals”
  8. “Partners In Crime”
  9. “Chances”
  10. “Happy Ending”
  11. “Call It Fate, Call It Karma”
  12. “Fast Animals” (Japanese bonus track)

My opinion: I give this one 5/5 too. This isn’t my favorite album but, it’s interesting to hear what they’ve done with each song. There isn’t too much consistency in the style of the music between each song. This album is more dancy, synthy and poppy, completely different sound compared to Is This It. “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” and “Welcome to Japan” are the songs I like the most off of this album. I really don’t know what the hell “Welcome to Japan” is about but the music sounds great and it has a good guitar solo. Call It Fate… is probably the weirdest song they’ve released, the song has this weird sound to it… this song is also kinda sad.

 

Future Present Past (2016)

Image Courtesy of www.thestrokes.com

About: Future Present Past was more electronic than the other albums they’ve put out. This album is more about the problems of society and the government than the band members’ personal problems.

Art: The cover art features the colors of the rainbow, I couldn’t find anything that said why they chose these colors, but it looks nice.

 

 

 

 

Tracks:

  1. “Drag Queen”
  2. “OBLIVIUS”
  3. “Threat Of Joy”
  4. “OBLIVIUS” (Fab Moretti Remix)

My opinion: This album is 5/5. It’s interesting to see how they’ve developed and changed their style. Although I like all of the songs on this album, “Threat Of Joy” is the only song I don’t like as much as the other two songs. The whole thing is great, it’s probably the first thing the whole band has put effort into since 2006. However, I have a feeling this might be the last album they’re putting out, anytime soon at least.

RANKING THE ALBUMS

Ranking the albums from: good to slightly less good, but still good nonetheless.

1. Is This It

The fast paced original Strokes post-punk sound of this album is something that’ll stick around as a classic for years. This is at the top of the list because it’s the album that got me into this band and the only one I can listen to everyday.

2. Future Present Past

I don’t know exactly what it is about this album that makes me like it slightly more than the others. It’s quick and doesn’t feel like it’s sitting around waiting for something to happen. This is the first time in a few years they seem to have put effort into a record. The album feels less separated and sad.

3. Room On Fire

This is the album that introduced me to the band. When I was 9, I discovered the song “Reptilia” . Though at the time it didn’t mean too much it ended up changing my life. This album has a similar feeling to their first album but it feels a bit too slow for a 33 minute album.

4. Comedown Machine

Fourth on the list is Comedown Machine. This one is all over the place. The tracks are a bit too slow and too sad. Most of it is uninspired and just filler. It makes sense that they wouldn’t try too hard since they were forced to release something by their record label.

5. First Impressions Of Earth

Good album, feels too long though. I usually skip most of the songs from this album whenever they come on.

6. Angles

It’s alright. This isn’t an album I like to sit down and listen to all the time.

Conclusion

Well, by now you probably got the gist of the band. You now know what I like about the band and why I think you should listen to them. So go. The article is over. Thanks for your time.


WORKS CITED

iClarkey. “When It Started: The Story Of The Strokes.” YouTube, YouTube, 11 May 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l8mGQwwn2Y.

Nguyen, Kevin. “The Fifteen-Year Decline of the Strokes.” LeBron James Called the NCAA “Corrupt” and He’s Absolutely Right, GQ, 12 Aug. 2016, www.gq.com/story/the-strokes-retrospective.

“The Strokes.” The Strokes, The Strokes, thestrokes.com/.

“The Strokes.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Strokes.

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