The initial roster of The Strokes consisted of Nikolai Fraiture on bass, Fabrizio Moretti on drums, Nick Valensi on guitar, and Julian Casablancas as the lead vocalist. In their formative stages, they pried on the ability to create lo-fi sounds with an emphasis on simple song writing structure, and poetic introspective of the life and times of the youth and the ever changing growing pains that accompanied their ability to wade through the social climate.
While drummer Fabrizio Moretti avows influences stemming from the “Doors” of perception, many mainstream enthusiasts lend credibility to their “Pop” accessibility by creating a more instrumentally abridged rendition of the punk revolution stemming from the nineteen eighties. This is a clear connection for the millennial to take the aggression of the music, and turn the music into a clean reformation of self-activism.
By reinventing the perspective, they helped create music that ultimately had a more controlled and translational effect. They made the oddities of social development be as simple as embracing your energy, and brushing off angst into a swerve or sock hop, as represented by their first single “Last Nite”.
[LISTEN] The Strokes – Is This It? – Full Album Playlist
“The Modern Age” is about flirting with the obviously calamitous, but relishing the experience. The metaphor could stem to multiple inspirations; the likes of The Velvet Underground, whom created visualizations for each listeners impending vice. It reflects the individuals’ affair with what it inevitably their personal hubris. This extends itself to many commonalities, including the standard sex, drugs, or even the discovery of Rock & Roll through lyrics that suggest it is of a chemical effect.
“Soma” was a drug commonly made from a red & white mushroom by the original Buddhists to infuse a spiritual journey. The chemical infraction is almost cheating the experience. In relation to this track, he is cheating himself by trying to be like others in disparity to impress a perspective lover. Drug usage however is considered a representation of self-loathing in Buddhist culture. How can he love this woman if he can’t love himself? The show he puts on is never to his own amusement. So he pleads to be “let go.”
Julian asks us on “Barely Legal” in so many ways; “What is the benefit to playing it straight?” There are multitudes of disappointments associated with trying to take the higher ground, so why not take the innocence (virginity) of another? To bring out the worst in someone essentially would be far less lonely than grunting the worst by yourself; the implication being that he would be far less hurt if he had a partner to share the inevitable pains of adulthood with.
My favorite track on the album is “Someday.” It involves the conflict of an ex lover who in so many ways says you are not good enough for them by “lacking in depth.” While he is truly sincere about the acclimations he had made in their relationship, it is with reluctance of being able to hold up his end of the bargain. He notices that alone they still hold life at a stand still and together; they still hold on to past grudges forcing them to corrode. He makes the promise to clean up his act and work towards being the man she envisioned him to be. His lack of consistency is the deterrent as he views the vicious cycle and exclaims at the top of his lungs. “No! I aint waistin no more time!” A pure disgust of always feeling her affirmations of his inferiority, and her disbelief in any passion he ever tried to display.
I feel that “Alone Together” carries a similar tone in emotion. He views the rebound as the two of them being miserable together; she makes him drink more just at the thought of being with her, and he even brings up his recent ex-girlfriend’s name in the beginning of the track! He basically has to drink himself to the belief that they ever really had anything in common in the first place.
I have the U.S. version of this album, so my next track happens to be my second favorite on this album. “When It Started” seems to be about sharing the spoils of the victory with every person who seemed to have an ounce of hope, if not part of your development. It is something that brings him gratification, even to those whom he felt he lost along the way.
I have to believe that “Trying Your Luck” has to be the most sincere love song on the album. It begins with lust for someone who is unattainable due to the infidelity being an issue to her livelihood. He felt the uncertainty that she felt with him, but he is sincere in knowing she has amazing things going for her. Yet, he would be willing to be a home wrecker for the opportunity to do anything for her out of the genuine belief he has found love in her.
The track “Take It Or Leave It” is his signature for denouncing the chivalry that the object of affection is currently in the graces of. He pronounces these assertions with a lack of subtlety, and by all means with the most unflattering of approaches. He swears vengeance in taking the life she had left behind for his accused imposter. The comedy in the incidence is whether he is saying these affirmations to spite the sensation of rejection; or to truly illustrate beyond reasonable doubt that he would perform beyond all widths end an undying frenzy of affection to win her acceptance.
The album is performed with such an underlying interpretation of love, through clean guitars, yet the emotions associated with the word are so vast that one must listen intently to determine if he says what he means, or means what he says. It is definitely a contrast to the founding fathers of punk rock, whose dynamic was generally a direct indication of their passion. This album still provides an unprecedented level of energy for sound that sounds so tempered. Without a doubt it is one of the most amazing first impressions that a band could present on a full length debut.