I Feel Old
July 26, 2011 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Stereogum's Stroked is a ten-year anniversary celebration of The Strokes debut album Is This It, featuring Owen Pallet, Peter Bjion and John, and more.

I'm especially partial to Himanshu Suri's (Heems from Das Racist) contribution, a cover of New York City Cops that is, among other things, a good primer on unarmed people who have been murdered by New York City police officers.
posted by hughbot (54 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
So, this is, like, if I didn't feel old enough after reading through the Nirvana thread, you just wanted to drive the final nail in the coffin?

Jesus Christ.
posted by kbanas at 12:49 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]

Oh wait that means I left home at ...16? Is that right? Huh. Thought I was older.

posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ten years ago I hated everything, this album included. Considering Owen Pallet and Heems (seriously, if you like hip-hop and haven't heard any Das Racist outside of "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, you are doing yourself a grave disservice) are involved, I figure I'll give it another shot.
posted by griphus at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

You young whippersnappers don't know what it's like to be old. What makes me feel old was that I was getting into my mid-20s by the time Justin Bieber was born.
posted by CheesesOfNazareth at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2011

So I guess that my feeling old is already ten years old, then.

This album was at the start of my clubbing days, which I didn't begin until after I was done with school, since I was being responsible like a good little boy and shit. Of course, when I finally did start clubbing, I was already massively older than everyone else there, and well into That Guy territory. *sigh*
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:07 PM on July 26, 2011

This is not something that should be celebrated. The day I heard the Strokes and hated them was the day I knew I was getting old.
posted by dortmunder at 1:07 PM on July 26, 2011

I'm surprised someone bothered to write an article on the ten year anniversary of The Strokes. They were forgettable and represented another decline in music in my opinion. Boring then, boring now.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was a thirty something when Is This It was released. Now I'm a forty something, and the Strokes are thirty somethings. Sometimes I wonder if projects like these are created to keep us older folks distracted while the twenty somethings sneak up and chloroform us so we can be euthanized or dragged off to the soylent green factory.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:10 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

dortmunder: "This is not something that should be celebrated. The day I heard the Strokes and hated them was the day I knew I was getting old."

Naah, you know that you're getting (or are) old when you hear something like The Strokes and can't be bothered to hate them.
posted by octothorpe at 1:15 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your favorite band sucks.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:17 PM on July 26, 2011

I think it's interesting that the anomalous track - Heems' 'New York City Cops', in not being a cover so much as a reinterpretation that samples it - is also the one left off the US cd release. The tone of the song always bothered me, and not for the reasons the tracklist was modified, because it seemed to be toying with something bigger in the same feckless, bar-hopping tone as the rest of the album.

(I think it's a pretty good one, and that's coming from finding Das Racist try-hard.)

But, whoa, there's some fucking terrible covers here, like sleepwalking through the originals through a filter of the covering artist's sound. I think Owen Pallett's was worthwhile and Real Estate's is an interesting reinterpretation, and there's just nothing good to say about Deradoorian and Computer Magic.
posted by carbide at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2011

Yeah yeah, but are The Strokes anybody's favorite band anymore? I liked Is This It a lot, but if they are nobody would admit it.
posted by penduluum at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2011

This is an album worth of cover songs. I don't know if I made that clear enough.
posted by hughbot at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2011

Himanshu Suri's track is damn terrific. Lo-fi, angry, and historically accurate. Plus he mentions Radio Raheem.
posted by entropone at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2011

I remember my first time hearing "Is This It" more vividly than my first listen of any other album. I was in 10th grade when it came out, and my friend and I were on a bus trip, heading to tryouts for some sort of regional high-school band thing. He told me that he had a CD I had to listen to, and we both plugged our headphones into his Discman and listened to it together. It totally blew my 15-year-old mind. I'm not sure if the music is the reason I remember it so well, or just because it's a nice memory of hanging out with my friend, but it has always stuck with me. The song "Hard To Explain" especially transports me back to that time of my life when I listen to it now. (By the way, my friend and I are still very close, and he still introduces me to awesome music on a regular basis.)
posted by rebel_rebel at 1:24 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Strokes: like the raw sound and feelings of garage rock, filtered for ease of consumption.

Covers are fun because you can go ways that, on the surface, sound wrong. Take the Chelsea Wolfe track: "Think of what would happen if Strokes got all Witch-Housey" and I'd say "what a fookin' mess... but it's GOOD.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2011

"Last Night" is one of those songs that's impossible to listen to without singing along at the top of my lungs.

Thanks for this :)
posted by schmod at 1:26 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's something striking to me about the fact that Is This It? and Andrew WK's I Get Wet came out the same year. I'd be excited about an I Get Wet cover album.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:29 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I feel like the album is cursed, because I was listening to it when I got into my last accident.
posted by hellojed at 1:32 PM on July 26, 2011

I'm (only?) 27, and yet the fact that this came out 10 years ago makes me feel ancient. I remember when Stereogum did OKX, a 10-years-later OK Computer cover album! Which, as an aside, was about the same mix of good and mediocre/bad covers as this one.
posted by inmediasres at 1:39 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really just wanted to see who covered Someday and how they did (poorly). But damn, Owen Pallett's cover of Hard to Explain is great, and his explanation is even better. I never really noticed before, but working within the time signature of the original he basically turned it into a fugue.
posted by penduluum at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

What an amazing album, it came out and was big when I first moved to NYC. This will always remind me of that.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2011

I love this album. When it came out, it was one of the first modern albums that felt relevant to my life.
posted by milestogo at 1:53 PM on July 26, 2011

I was living in Philly at the time and got to hear them a couple of times while they were promoting the EP that came before Is this It--those were great concerts, and you knew something electric was going on. Somewhere I got all of their autographs on the CD EP, which I'm hoping will allow me to retire soon, or, at least, buy a really nice hot dog. Mmm... Gray's Papaya.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:01 PM on July 26, 2011

I was really really into garage rock when this came out and i was incensed that people kept (and still do) call it garage, when it really sounds nothing like weirdo American 60s rock and roll and a lot like late 70s New York or London art-rock with a dash of Australia or New Zealand and some Motown rhythms thrown in for good measure. I couldn't help but enjoy it immensely but it still bugs me: the Strokes do not have anything like the angry blues.

But whatever, these are great songs. Now I will listen to the covers.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2011

When "Is This It?" came out, The Strokes were just infuriating. They were a bunch of snotty rich kids from NYC, and they weren't exactly humble but--holy crap--did they write catchy songs.

I didn't want to like them, and I didn't buy their album, but that didn't matter because everyone I hung out with did (I was in college) and I grew to know it better than a lot of albums I did buy back in 2001.

I always thought of them as a really good pop band like the Psychedelic Furs: a band with impeccable musical influences that made pop songs for a pop audience.
posted by mcmile at 2:07 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

A old friend once said you could trace the entire length of the Strokes' career arc from breathless hype to hipster backlash simply by walking from the front to the end of the line waiting outside to see them at the Horeshoe Tavern in Toronto in 2001. Everyone at the front was giddy; everyone at the back was pretending they couldn't remember why they bought the tickets in the first place. I bet if you stood there long enough someone would've walked by making one of those hipper-than-thou whatever huff-puff sounds.

Anyway, I never got to the end of that line. I'm with schmod - even after ten years, I'm belting along at the top of my lungs every single time I come across "Hard to Explain" or "Last Nite" or "Someday" (which was always my very favourite).

Oh, my ex says I'm lacking in depth . . .
posted by gompa at 2:19 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not being a Strokes-knowledgeable person, I tend to think of that album as "the album that has the same cover as the album my friends in a university acappella band made the year before". I may know the songs, but I don't have any connection between the songs and the album.

I'll check this out on the strength of enjoying Stereogum's Bjork cover album.
posted by immlass at 2:22 PM on July 26, 2011

I bet if you stood there long enough someone would've walked by making one of those hipper-than-thou whatever huff-puff sounds.

Oh god people notice when I do that?
posted by griphus at 2:28 PM on July 26, 2011

This is it awesome. Thanks

Incidentally, the "I'm old" moment this caused for me was "It's been 10 years since 9/11?" (remember "New York City Cops"?)
posted by thescientificmethhead at 2:39 PM on July 26, 2011

I was 22 when This Is It came out but I remain unperturbed by the fact that time has passed since then. It's a great album and these covers are interesting so far - ta.
posted by MUD at 2:45 PM on July 26, 2011

I am, though, perturbed by having jumbled the word order of the album. Blecch.
posted by MUD at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2011

Also that Owen Pallett cover is taking me to a nice Marie Antoinette place.
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2011

BTW, A Stroke of Genie-us is one of my favorite mashups ever.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 2:49 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Someone older will come along and tell me about stage 3, but here are the first two stages of getting old when it comes to music:

1) A hit cover song comes out and some snot nosed kid is shocked when you tell them you remember the original.

2) A hit rap song comes out that samples a song where you not only remember the original, the original song was itself a signal of the original artists getting old. In particular, I'm thinking of Lupe Fiasco's sample of Modest Mouse, from a single when Johnny Marr had joined the band. Forget "who's Modest Mouse?" - who's Johnny Marr?

36, 1 kid here. Can't remember the last show I went to.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 3:03 PM on July 26, 2011

Guys, at least we're all getting old together.
posted by stratastar at 3:22 PM on July 26, 2011

I'm gonna go ahead and say that Is This It was possibly as big as Nevermind influentially, if not commercially.

36, 1 kid here. Can't remember the last show I went to.

39, two kids here. Let's go to a show! How about Yuck tonight or tomorrow?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2011

I'm too young for Nirvana but this is hitting me. I love that garage rock revival. I remember coming back from college and hearing GOOD music on the radio. The Vines are back (locally anyway) and I'm seeing The Hives tomorrow. Wish The White Stripes would reunite, and I've still never seen the Strokes.
Indie rock needs to rock again.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:46 PM on July 26, 2011

Though I know this isn't really garage. Why did the revival end so quickly?
Ah well...Jim Jones Revue are going to revive the revival!
I'm at the stage of 'getting old' where I buy two or three albums a year, mostly see shows of bands I've already seen, and reflexisivly hate most new music unless someone from a band I like played on it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:51 PM on July 26, 2011

mrgrimm: I only get one hall pass this week, and that's to my buddy's band Black Mahal at messanine this friday. They're opening for Das Racist, which brings it back full circle.

there should totally be an SF MeFi parent show group.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 3:54 PM on July 26, 2011

I listened to this album compulsively on a 50 megabyte MP3 player in high school. Now my armband's going off and now the sandmen are coming for me.
posted by codacorolla at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw ... (AHEM! clears throat, removes dentures) ... I saw The Strokes like, the week before they became popular. I stumbled into a tiny little venue in DC and they were playing a gig -- no stage; I was standing awkwardly close to Julian. They were fun. I liked them enough to pick up their EP.

(reinserts dentures, pours big glass of Nehi)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hmm. I was eleven when Is This It came out - it actually feels like it was all even longer ago than just ten years. It seems like scepticism has won out, but I still feel very loyal to The Strokes. And I'm so grateful that their type of thing - guitars! - was big when I was starting to get into music. All these Bon Ivers, etc., are gorgeous and everything, but I know if I'd stumbled upon indie(ish) music the way it is today, as an eleven-year-old girl fascinated with melody, colour, drama, sexiness, and guitars, I would have just taken up painting or stripping or something instead. And I would never have been as good at any of that as I am at liking The Strokes. Happy birthday, Is This It!

(Also, Julian Casablancas is the most beautifully ridiculous name I know.)
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:34 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

The cover of "Hard To Explain" is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, hughbot!
posted by tantrumthecat at 6:48 PM on July 26, 2011

"Julian Casablancas is the most beautifully ridiculous name I know."
"Really? I find it rather pedestrian," sniffs Bernard Cumberbatch.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:07 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing "Bjion" is some kind of Swedish mustard?
posted by pjm at 7:10 PM on July 26, 2011

Screw the haters, Is This It is a great album. I honestly do not care if it high art, it has a good beat and I can really dance to it.

That said, while the idea of the cover album is one I am open to... The Strokes are probably not high art. They have a sound, they're great at it, and it doesn't seem to cover well here. Maybe I just need to listen to it more than once, but... meh. (So far, I only like the Frankie Rose).

So that's a nyeh and a meh. I am making a damned eloquent point here.
posted by maryr at 8:08 PM on July 26, 2011

And I swear to god, Real Estate is playing Hem's "Not California."
posted by maryr at 8:14 PM on July 26, 2011

I was 32 when it came out and loved it as I love it still. Like others, songs like The Modern Age, Hard to Explain and Soma struck me very strongly. I quite like Angles as well.

Funny story though, in regard to the age thing. I was at the Horseshoe to see Gruff Rhys recently and while I was waiting in the line at the washroom some guy comes up to me and says "Holy shit, that guy must be in his 40s!" Referring to a gentlemen who was close to ,I'd say, ahead of us. I told him I was 42. He said I didn't look it and got way to apologetic. I figure if he thinks a 60 year old looks like he's in his 40s then I and others my age won't look like were in our 40s until were in our 60s, at least to guys in their early 20s. Interestingly, a couple of women at a club I went to for an event with a friend pegged us exactly for our age, though they diplomatically claimed it was how we carried ourselves.

Of course my niece, at 7 years old, when she heard my age, said I should be dead by now.
posted by juiceCake at 10:40 PM on July 26, 2011

The Strokes is one of my favorite newish bands, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. If you weren't a certain age when this album came out, I think it's easy to miss just how extraordinary they sounded when they came out. They were totally unlike anything I'd listened to before and I thought they were impossibly cool. I know I'm a tool, but I was 16 at the time, which has to count for something. I was just starting to grow out of Limp Bizkit and Korn, and I was starting to get into alternative stuff like NIN, Smashing Pumpkins, Depeche Mode. But still, up to that point I had never even heard The Velvet Underground, or at least heard a song from them that I recognized as such. But I knew that mainstream guitar music, even the good stuff, didn't sound like The Strokes. The fussiness, the lack of frills, the immediacy... a total antidote to the self-indulgent, overwrought, overproduced rock out at the time. It was a minor revelation for me.

I listened to all of these covers last night, and while they were all novel and enjoyable... most just didn't work for me. There's something about the austerity of the originals that is so essential to their success as songs. And frankly, as much as I love these songs, the songwriting and arrangements sometimes don't hold up well beneath these new lenses. I think I'd rather hear sloppy drunken bar band covers of all of them. The reworking of Hard to Explain is lovely, though. And NYC Cops is sobering and visceral, especially considering how the original really had nothing to do with New York City cops and everything to do with vapid, snotty, boy-girl problems (part of it's charm, natch). The rest didn't do much for me, sadly. Still, I'm glad that the album is being recognized.

I'm in the minority, but I thought The Strokes' last two albums were wonderful. Their only sin is not being nearly as good as their first two, which is a shame but not a searing indictment against the albums in and of themselves.
posted by kryptondog at 9:24 AM on July 27, 2011

@octothorpe >Naah, you know that you're getting (or are) old when you hear something like The Strokes and can't be bothered to hate them.<

The next step is when people are celebrating the 10+ year anniversary of something, or talking about how much they loved it in the womb, and it’s still on your list of new things to check out. Happened to me with OK Computer a few years ago. Still haven’t heard the whole thing.

Actually, my brother played some of This is It in the car years ago, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was just thinking "sounds like Garage-y Power Pop". I’ve heard that a million times, how can that be new? What am I supposed to be excited about? What’s going on? What time is Matlock on?
posted by bongo_x at 2:09 PM on July 27, 2011

I like Angles and First Impressions too.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:01 PM on July 27, 2011

I was just thinking "sounds like Garage-y Power Pop". I’ve heard that a million times, how can that be new?

Well, that's a lot of anybody's shtick. How to make something old feel new. The Strokes did it with distorted vocals.

"The finest Billy Squier cover band in the South (barely beating out The Everybody Wants Yous), The Strokes are a group of young hypsters from parts worldwide, led by a guy named Julian Casablancas who writes all the songs and makes the dreams come together. When they first burst straight out of New York City, they were compared to the Velvet Underground for reasons I will NEVER understand (VU = slow, dull, shitty - Strokes = fast, fun, clean and crisp), but eventually won unconditional love and bitter backlash with their simple note/chord churning and melodic cool-guy vocals (sung through a distortion effect, for reasons NOBODY will ever understand). In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Keep on strokin'!"

... Are they breaking any new ground? HELL NO! But I don't. I just think of it as rock and roll. `Cause that's what it is. They're just like reviving old rock and roll. (what do you like about it?) Wull. fuck. I like that it's rock and it's for real. There's no bullshit - there's no rock stars anymore.

I swear to God, I hate cops to the max."

I loled twice.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:05 PM on July 27, 2011

"Julian Casablancas is the most beautifully ridiculous name I know."

"Really? I find it rather pedestrian," sniffs Bernard Cumberbatch.
posted by Ian A.T.

Benedict ;-)
posted by Nossidge at 7:31 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Binary Agreement Model   |   The village that re-emerged Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments