Our Take: 4/5 Stars
This Friday, following a seven year long hiatus, The Strokes dropped their sixth LP “A New Abnormal.” The record’s title could not have been more auspicious given the current chaotic state of the world. Nearly two decades ago, The Strokes released their debut album “Is This It.” They garnered overnight success with songs “Last Nite” and “Someday,” which would later go down as indie rock anthems. The Strokes had a major hand in making indie alternative rock the genre it is today. The insurgence of this genre breaking through to mainstream media and radio can be affixed to their undeniable popularity. In the early 2000s and 2010s, it was nearly impossible to not hear “Last Nite” at a school dance, and practically everyone knew the name Julian Casablancas, the band’s lead singer and early 2000’s “It” boy. Whether audiences love or hate them today, no one can deny the impact and influence that they have had on many other celebrated bands like The Arctic Monkeys and The Vaccines.
It is evident that over the course of the band’s six-album discography, not every record was a hit. Sure, they lost their way in the middle of their career, but most importantly they found their way back. Their most recent release “The New Abnormal” is a mature and focused effort. It is the band’s most concentrated sound yet. After listening to just one track off the new album, it is apparent that The Strokes have not changed themselves to keep up with the times. “The New Abnormal” still holds onto the integrity of rock while reminding listeners of the alternative, indie feel they know and love.
The best track off the album hands down is “Eternal Summer.” Flowery and magnetic, it will put listeners in a trance. The majority of the song’s weight sits in the lap of Casablancas and his unfiltered falsetto, while the steady guitar licks keep a good pace and mimic a summer fantasy. “Eternal Summer” feels like sitting on the roof on the hottest day of summer or walking back from the neighborhood pool.
Another standout song off the album is the up-tempo track “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus.” This is the perfect song to throw on when getting ready to go out. The track feels hopeful and full of possibilities, much like the feeling most people have when they are about to hit the town. This song features techno vibes, yet does not lose The Stokes’ alternative rock sound. One thing that stands out is the fact that the track’s instrumentation does not play second fiddle to its lyricism in the way that many radio-friendly songs of the same genre do.
One of the final tracks to check out on this album is “The Adults Are Talking.” This song playfully pays homage to The Strokes’ debut and highly acclaimed album “Is This It.” It features Casablancas’s casual and laid back vocals over top steady and repetitive guitar chords. This is not a musically impressive song, but it is clean and uncomplicated. It follows the same formula that has provided them with monumental success in the past.
The Strokes have found a way to maintain their popularity over the course of twenty plus years without losing the sound that makes them, them. After their most recent release “The New Abnormal,” they have proven to be one of the last few rock bands not to sell out. It is clear that The Strokes adhere to the sentiment that “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” and that, although the world of music is evolving, The Strokes will stay true to themselves no matter what.