Some argue that rock is dead. If so, then explain the buzz surrounding a certain rock band from New York, which has, in recent months, reached deafening levels. With only a couple EPs and some championing from the English press, the question on every boy’s and girl’s lips the world over is: “So, you heard the Strokes yet?”
Some others might still respond cynically by pointing out that the Strokes are essentially rich kids — now richer thanks to a multimillion-dollar contract — making derivative garage music and fueled by big-business PR.
True, but however you look at it, rock music at its very best — when it embodies all the reckless ambiguities, emotions and dangers of youth — is one of the few things that can actually bring young people together.
Which is what makes the Strokes the most important band to emerge from the United States since Nirvana, giving voice to an always cynical generation with some much-needed immediacy, timeliness and punch. Julian Casablancas’ vocals — distorted, vaguely sleepy and alternating between croons and screams — sit atop the band’s two-guitar, punchy garage-punk. With sly nods to the Stooges, Velvet Underground and the Ramones, the Strokes’ 4 a.m. streetwalking attitude is a huge contrast to today’s mainstream saccharine pap and prefabricated angst.
While the Strokes are obviously not the first “retro”-inspired garage act emerging from the U.S. underground, Is This It? distinguishes itself through the band’s songs — each of the 11 tracks a tight, dynamic and infectiously hooky gem — and a clear dedication to endless rehearsal.
Which shows that for once a band really gets what rock music is about, not just attitude and looks (which, mind you, the Strokes do have), but an insane dedication to be the best band on the planet.
To steal a Stone Roses quote, the Strokes are five guys taking on the world with the world’s approval. Is This It? is the first great debut of the 21st century and, like it or not, the Strokes are already well on their way.
E-mail Aaron Warshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.