I paid a ridiculous amount for Strokes tickets recently. I could have paid rent. Remember when you could see The Strokes for twenty bucks at the Hammerstein Ballroom? Better yet, for ten at Arlene’s Grocery? Yea I miss that. My wallet does at least. Well they are still our little secret. Kind of. It seems the unexpected five year hiatus of the coolest band on earth turned them into mega superstars. So many bands have broken out since the last time the boys made a record, that wouldn’t have had a chance in hell. Without them there would be no Vampire Weekend, an MGMT, or even a White Stripes. I would be writing about Limp Bizkit right now and that terrifies me. Everything seemed to be alright after First Impressions of Earth (BMG), but things were about to fall apart and crumble fast. Solo albums and side projects mostly became obligations instead of wants. Singer Julian Casablancas seems to distance himself from the band, a little too much for anyones liking and he didn’t even record much of the new record, Angles (BMG), with the rest of the band.
I can only imagine the tension is so thick that you could cut it with a knife (Chop!).
Casablancas has always been known for being a bit of a musical loaner in terms of songwriting, but this time rest of the band had a helping hand in it. Though there is something special about the new record that somehow makes the band more cohesive than ever. It feels like a product of The Strokes as a whole. Not to say the other records didn’t, but there is a big part of every member in it
I remember the first time I saw The Strokes. I say “saw” because I liked them before I even heard them. Flipping through my free subscription of Rolling Stone in 2001, I came across a new artist blurb about five bright-eyed fellows about to release their debut album Is This It. Well, wait, no rapping? No bubble coats? These guys looked cool and I had to find out more. I did. Coming home from class, a day before their debut dropped, I turned on MTV which I rarely do. They had a token late morning show that played an hour’s worth of videos. “Last Nite,” came blaring from the next room. My ears exploded and I was instantly captured as I rushed in. The next day I went to Record Town (r.i.p.) and that was it. Is this it? Yes, yes it was.
To say a lot of people had an unhealthy obsession with The Strokes from the beginning is true. We brought the $10 NMEs, the vinyl singles, the akward fan club membership which entitled us to silk screened Strokes shoelaces. They were and still are the band that saved modern rock and roll. But sadly, right now, we’re not sure if they can save themselves from each other. The Strokes seem to get bigger with every album. This could be a part of the problem. The pressure. Well, maybe a small part of it. I’m not sure if The Strokes have realized that they can make a whole record of them rapping over a flute and we’d still love it. So Julian, Albert, Fab, Nick and Niko…what’s the problem? I think at this point we’re more nervous that anything. The pressure comes from within the band and there is nothing we can do about it. Could April 1st be the last time the boys ever play New York City? It is a scary thought, but we don’t think it is over just yet. Each interview becomes slightly more optimistic. Will the shows bring them closer together? We think so. Should we be freaked out that only a few shows are even listed? Maybe. We just don’t want to wake up and hear that it’s over. The end has no end, right?
The Strokes have already dropped hints at record number five which is a glimpse of hope for the future. If Angles (BMG) is a taste of what is to come, we are already along for the ride. The kicker is, we never got out of the car in the first place.
The Strokes will always be those five guys we all fell in love with. A band that inspired a whole new generation of rock and roll. The converse sneakers and white belts. The 2 minute songs and scratchy vocals.
We just want to say “Thank You.” Don’t let us down. You never do.