The Strokes
Is This It



by jtswope USER (96 Reviews)
May 18th, 2013 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

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.

Favorite Tracks:
Hard to Explain
Barely Legal
Trying Your Luck
The Modern Age

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 18th 2013


So good.

The band could make every album sound like this and they'd be 4.5's at least.

Digging: Beastmilk - Climax

May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

We may completely disagree on favourite tracks but looks like we agree on how brilliant this still is..

May 18th 2013


another band i dont quite GET

May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I could see pretty much every track being a favorite for different people.

May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

My all time favorite.

Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

this is amazing yea. last nite is my personal fav but theyre all gold

Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0


Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

your reviews are the best, man. you should be a staff reviewer

the album is easily their best

May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Listening to this today.

May 18th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Artuma. Appreciate the support! I'd definitely agree it's their best.

May 19th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

great album

nice review

Digging: Burger / Ink - Las Vegas

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