Review Summary: The Strokes' first album is a sturdy and extremely catchy rock record with a strong personality.
After 12 years of playing on countless CD players, record players, and mp3 players, Is This It
has attained a sort of legendary status among fans and critics alike. The Strokes' debut album came at an opportune time for modern rock with the exciting revival of post-punk. So has Is This It
stood the test of time? As with any LP hailed as a classic, that's up for debate. Nevertheless, as I return to it even today, I'm blown away by the incredibly solid, focused, and concise songwriting as well as the freshness that the LP still exudes. Therefore, Is This It
showcases The Strokes' exceptional ability to consistently deliver robust, straightforward rock tunes that are equally edgy and indelible.
All in all, Is This It
is resolute but never forceful. Its abundant hooks and enjoyable rhythms casually slip into the listener's mind without any friction. Every component from the drums to Julian Casablancas's vocals rolls along so nonchalantly. As a result, the attitude permeating the record fills each track with animation and cultivates a seductive groove for the album's duration. Nowhere on Is This It
are there groundbreaking song structures or iconoclastic themes. The Strokes stick to their knack for crafting simple yet fervid songs that delve into topics like young love and sensuality. On top of the band's striking panache is genuine sentiment, a desire to find oneself in a world that carries on with or without the person.
The Strokes wallow in the world of up-and-coming men, singing about natural inclinations such as lust and initial attraction but never hesitating to expose themselves to the complications of romance. There's a certain degree of dissatisfaction and depression on "Last Nite" but there's also a shade of optimism on "Someday". Beneath the surface of these easygoing pop gems are many open-ended concerns that lend considerable authenticity and feeling to the music. In addition to the album's lyricism and substance, the instrumentation is effortless and satisfying. As a guitar-driven album, Is This It
relies on deft riffs and stunning melodies that are bound to prompt jovial sing-alongs.
The multiple guitars on tracks like "The Modern Age" and "Trying Your Luck" establish a vibrant undercurrent and a reckless disposition. Hearing Casablancas shriek and raise his voice on "New York City Cops" gives the listener a jolt of liveliness. Packed into these poppy tunes are sweet, upfront spurts of youthful energy. Not one track exceeds four minutes, but each adequately speaks for itself. "Hard to Explain" hinges on an urgent beat while Casablancas gives his one of his most effortless and wholehearted vocal performances. Despite the song's upbeat foundation there is an overarching sense of ambivalence that gives the song a meaningful dimension.
Still, at the heart of The Strokes' sound are undeniably catchy songs that can tickle the fancy of just about any rock fanatic open to its pop sensibilities. Songs like "Barely Legal" are addictive in their sly and playful posture, and the Strokes display an immense talent for bringing personality into their music. The album's immediacy keeps it engaging and congenial. Listening to The Strokes, one can hear hints of bands like The Velvet Underground, but The Strokes convey an irreplaceable allure in their composure. Thus, Is This It
presents a fun, eloquent grouping of tracks that mesh together effectively.
Is This It
contains exhilarating character and zest. The individual songs are almost guaranteed to frolic through the listener's mind for a long time, but the perky interplay between the band members is what keeps the sound truly buoyant. Thus, with considerable flair, The Strokes incorporate styles from rock's extensive history while simultaneously looking ahead to the vast, unwritten future.
Hard to Explain
Trying Your Luck
The Modern Age