Timing is everything. I’ve heard that phrase somewhere before, and it certainly applies to the music biz. Today’s band/album has all the accolades any band hopes for. But a part of me wonders if they’d have seen all that success had they been just another 90s alt rock band?
Julian Casablancas grew up in the early 80s in New York City. In grade school, he started picking up instruments and playing with other schoolmates. At 13 he was sent to Switzerland to attend a school more focused on his academics – but the music didn’t stop. He continued to play and found another kid with a passion for music. When the schooling wrapped up for all involved, a band was formed and they began playing small venues on the lower east side. One particular place called the Mercury Lounge felt the band had a very signature sound. So much so, the lead booker for the club decided to quit his job and become the band’s manager. At that point, The Strokes were born.
Debut albums can sometimes be tricky – the band is still finding their rhythm—but Is This It burst onto the scene in a big way. After being released in October of 2001, it quickly was gaining notoriety from every major critic in the books. The acclaim was crazy—5 out of 5 stars, 9.5 out of 10, top ten debut album of all time, top 20 album of the 2000s and one of the top 1000 albums to hear before you die. The sales showed the fans loved it too, as it has sold nearly 4 million albums worldwide. The Strokes would go on to open for The Rolling Stones on a major European tour. The crowds were often cheering for Strokes encores over the Stones beginning their set.
This is music I grew up with, but came out when I was in college. For me, this is 90s alt rock through and through. I think some will reference older acts and ‘garage rock’ as the major influences, but I see a lot of the Seattle scene with maybe a slightly more upbeat tone. In total, the album plays for about 36 minutes, and it’s virtually one unstoppable jam session. Casablancas’s vocal style is perfect for the backing sound and everything just simply works. It’s beat-heavy and riff-heavy rock, which makes it hard to resist tapping your toes along. Perhaps this album isn’t perfection, but given the age of punk rock and goth rock, this album was a welcome vacation.
The three tracks I’ll list out are staples of my mp3 player. They’re perfect for the office, working out, driving across the country or just looking to jam out. A record or band with that sort of range can be hard to find. And since maybe you’ve never heard of The Strokes, get acquainted today with Is This It for $5 bucks.
Top 3 Tracks: