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Is This It

The Strokes

2001

Buy At Rough Trade
Is This It
Album Summary

Is This It is the debut studio album by American rock band the Strokes. It was first released on July 30, 2001, in Australia, with RCA Records handling the release internationally and Rough Trade Records handling the United Kingdom release. It was recorded at Transporterraum in New York City with producer Gordon Raphael during March and April 2001. For their debut, the band strived to capture a simple sound that was not significantly enhanced in the studio. Building on their 2001 EP The Modern Age, the band members molded compositions largely through live takes during recording sessions, while songwriter and lead singer Julian Casablancas continued to detail the lives and relationships of urban youth. Following its completion, the Strokes embarked on a promotional world tour before its release. The album was released gradually in different countries as their tour continued, with it being released in Japan on August 22 and the United Kingdom on August 27. The album's original cover photograph caused controversy for being too sexually explicit, and was replaced for the US market. Following the September 11 attacks in New York City, the American compact disc release was delayed from September 25 to October 9 and had its track list amended, with the song "New York City Cops" being removed and replaced with the newly written track "When It Started"; however, the American vinyl release still includes the track as a result of its release falling on September 11. Three singles were released from the album: "Hard to Explain", "Last Nite", and "Someday". Promoted by the music press for its twin-guitar interplay and melodic, pop-influenced sound, Is This It peaked at number 33 on the US Billboard 200 and number two on the UK Albums Chart, going on to achieve platinum status in several countries. It received critical acclaim, with many praising it for its charisma and rhythm, which often referenced the works of 1970s garage rock bands. The release of the album is widely considered to be a watershed moment, and crucial in the reinvention of post-millennium guitar music. It has featured in several publications' lists of the best albums of the 2000s and of all time.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.86

Votes

12749
Genres
Rock
Indie

Reviews

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Tue Mar 09 2021
5

Blessed and cursed with an enormous amount of hype from the British press, the Strokes prove to be one of the few groups deserving of their glowing reviews. Granted, their high-fashion appeal and faultless influences -- Television, the Stooges, and especially Lou Reed and the Velvets -- have "critics' darlings" written all over them. But like the similarly lauded Elastica and Supergrass before them, the Strokes don't rehash the sounds that inspire them -- they remake them in their own image. On the Modern Age EP, singles like Hard to Explain, and their full-length debut, Is This It, the N.Y.C. group presents a pop-inflected, second-generation take on late-'70s New York punk, complete with raw, world-weary vocals, spiky guitars, and an insistently chugging backbeat. However, their songs also reflected their own early-twenties lust for life; singer/songwriter/guitarist Julian Casablancas and the rest of the band mix swaggering self-assurance with barely concealed insecurity on "The Modern Age" and reveal something akin to earnestness on "Barely Legal" -- a phrase that could apply to the Strokes themselves -- in the song's soaring choruses. The group revamps "Lust for Life" on "New York City Cops" and combines their raw power and infectious melodies on "Hard to Explain," arguably the finest song they've written in their career. Nearly half of Is This It consists of their previously released material, but that's not really a disappointment since those songs are so strong. What makes their debut impressive, however, is that the new material more than holds its own with the tried-and-true songs. "Is This It" sets the joys of being young, jaded, and yearning to a wonderfully bouncy bassline; "Alone Together" and "Trying Your Luck" develop the group's brooding, coming-down side, while "Soma," "Someday," and "Take It or Leave It" capture the Strokes at their most sneeringly exuberant. Able to make the timeworn themes of sex, drugs, and rock & roll and the basic guitars-drum-bass lineup seem new and vital again, the Strokes may or may not be completely arty and calculated, but that doesn't prevent Is This It from being an exciting, compulsively listenable debut. [In light of the World Trade Center disaster, the track "New York City Cops" was pulled from the U.S. release].

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

2001 was mega wasn't it? A whole world of possibilities for a 16/17 year old me who's just discovered that pubs (remember them?) would serve him and some particularly unfussy girls would go out with him. One of the best album covers of all time, one of the coolest bands of all time released this. The album itself is perfect. I wanted to be them but somehow failed to pull off the skinny jean, leather jacket, stoner look. I would pick out highlights; but I adore every song for different reasons. If you pushed me "Someday" is probably my favorite. Fun Fact- At a fundraiser recently for Bernie Sanders The strokes fans had gone past the curfew time and the fans rushed the stage durign the last song "New York City Cops". The Front man, Julian Casablancas, turns around and bumps into huge cop trying to control the situation just as hes singing 'they ain't too smart!' Chaos ensued (plenty of videos on youtube). Anyway This is the best album of the noughties, hand down, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise! I'd give this 6 if i could. Easiest 5/5 ever.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

I wanted to hate this album so much when it came out. Rich little prep-school boys trying to make vintage music sounds like such a turnoff. Nope. One listen and I was in love. Perfect album.

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Fri Nov 06 2020
1

Album sounds the exact same throughout. Not much diversity. Liked a couple of their famous songs. 1/5

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Mon Aug 28 2023
2

I'm in the minority here for sure but... what's the appeal here? Tonally it's quite monotonous. Sonically, nothing new. Lyrically, hard to tell. The vocals are mixed so far back and the slight distortion on them makes the words just blend into the rest of the instrumentation. Pretty meh. I recognize a few of the tracks, but that doesn't mean they're good, just that they're played on the radio.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Love it! Classic with many hits, including the title track, "last nite", "selfless". Love the slightly distorted voice

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

The Stroke’s 2001 magnum opus “Is This It”, was a prime example of being in the right place at the right time. Rock music was ready to undergo a change it hadn’t done so since the early 90s with the grunge era. The New York group quickly rose to prominence and gave way to the indie music revolution. It was a return to the fundamentals and the basics of what made rejecting main stream so cool. The strokes were able to make amazing melodies with fairly simple progressions and that in itself is what lens does band its signature sound. Overall I would give this album a 9.1 out of 10, “Is This It” is an album that I still play regularly on vinyl front to back.

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

Effortlessly cool, this band played a huge part in my life music wise in my twenties and still do today. As fresh now as it was then even though it wears every influence on its sleeve. An absolute joy to listen to from start to finish - how many tracks are just nailed on killer songs ? Tore up my rule book in 2001 in the same way Nirvana did ten years before. Utterly brilliant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Sat Mar 06 2021
5

This album is great and I had been wanting to listen to it for a while so I'm glad I finally did. I liked it better on the second listen and it's at least a top 50 album for me. It's just full of good songs and no filler. I don't have too many thoughts on it other than that. It's 35 minutes of good music that I will definitely be coming back to. As far as negatives, there aren't many. I don't like the guitar solo on Last Nite but it doesn't ruin the song for me. Also. the US version is definitely worse. I guess I understand why they replaced it but New York City Cops is better than When It Started. Favorite Songs: Is This It; The Modern Age; Barely Legal; Someday; Alone, Together; Last Nite; Hard To Explain; Trying Your Luck; Take It Or Leave It Decent 9/10

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Sat Mar 20 2021
5

One of the best albums of all time. Rediscovered NYC Cops on this listen. So good.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
5

After the yearlong "end of the century" content from MTV, the nostalgia was there for another full year and along came "last nite" whose video exploited a nostalgia that we were actually too young to remember that of which it was a remembrance of. The rest is history as Is This It came to change the landscape of popular music in a more successful way than Kid A if not a longer one. Now 20 years after all of that I could say that the album is not as good as everyone thought it was, it actually drags I a couple of long moments, and it does not hold to the end after achieving its highest highs, maybe it could even be said that Room On Fire is more consistent even if not as soulful as this one. but what can be said against such perfect songs as Someday or Last Nite? I could try to give it a 2 or a 3 but the truth is that I’m still that 14 year old singing “when we was young oh man did we have fun” with all the honesty of the one who was never younger and did never became so again. To me, the jewel of the crown is Hard to Explain which is one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever heard, I still stop and surrender to it every time I hear it, and consider myself so lucky to have heard it live a couple of times. Hard To Explain is the reason why I’m giving this one a 5.

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Mon Nov 07 2022
5

Release the butt cover in the US

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

An all-time great album. Incredible for a debut, too. Every song is fantastic. Great guitar work and personable and relatable/smart lyrics.

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

I'm not sure I've ever listened to this album all the way through but I knew almost every song. That speaks to how strong the album is, 8 out of the 11 songs are single worthy.

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Sat Oct 09 2021
5

An album that never gets old. This was so refreshing when it dropped…. New, exciting and created its own zeitgeist. Love it!!!

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Love this album as much today as I did when I bought it 20 years ago.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
5

Effortlessly cool, this band played a huge part in my life music wise in my twenties and still do today. As fresh now as it was then even though it wears every influence on its sleeve. An absolute joy to listen to from start to finish - how many tracks are just nailed on killer songs ? Tore up my rule book in 2001 in the same way Nirvana did ten years before. Utterly brilliant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Tue Jan 18 2022
5

Listening to this record, it is obvious just how much of a formative moment it was, how influential it was for rock music coming into the 2000s. I love the throwback to garage rock and post-punk sounds, the the live atmosphere in the production makes you feel like you are seeing them at a small club. Not to mention the great presence Casablancas has on the mic, and the fun guitar interplay. Ultimately, I think I like a lot of the stuff that this album broke ground for even more, and the album can get a bit “samey” by the end, but the undeniable influence here puts it squarely into a 5 star rating for me.

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Ahhh the saviour of music. Back in 2001, when we were swiftly sinking into a bland quicksand of Travis, Coldplay and Osama Bin Laden, in stepped a deliberately scuffed pair of Converse high tops to save the day. The landmark album of our generation. It's knowingly nonchalant, but somehow through that apathy, true brilliance manifests. With youthful exuberance and effervescent energy the album quakes with more stompers than an elephant stampede through an unsuspecting african village. It's my favourite album.

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Thu Dec 28 2023
5

Julian Casablancas is said to have wanted Is This It to sound like a pair of favourite jeans, worn but familiar and comfortable. Whoever engineered this record did such a good job with that brief that Is This It really does feel as if it’s been around forever. Ground Zero for Rock in the new millennium, The Strokes feel like something new, a turning point away from the bloated and incoherent mess Alternative had become since Grunge fizzled out, a move towards an unkempt urban hipster cool image, that’s been so successful as marketing that it’s still what I imagine cool young people listen to in downtown Manhattan apartments over 20 years later. What I feel is often undervalued is how interesting it is as music. It all slots together in a very intricate way, with parts stopping and starting, the guitars playing off each other, the metronomic drums giving a tribal motorik performance that is weirdly danceable. I can slip this album on like a favourite pair of jeans at any time of day, at any point in the year and it fits. As a piece of art it is flawless, as a social document it is fascinating, and as an instruction manual in cool it is still functional. I love this album

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Sat Jan 06 2024
5

Before listening i felt as though i wouldnt like it though i did it was very fun to listen to would most likely listen to again i really liked his voice and the guitar in songs is very good too overall 5/5

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Sun Aug 20 2023
4

Props to this website for using the ass cover

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Wed Jun 09 2021
3

A very tight and tidy wee album. The Strokes know how to keep it simple and just write good songs. I always likes the band but they never made a big impression on me first time around and re-listening to this album now I pretty much still feel same way. I don’t dislike any of it, but I don’t love it. Cool band though.

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Tue Oct 04 2022
2

Last night is the stand out track here. The album is not offensive, some of the baselines are catchy, but the relentlessly strummy guitar coupled with showboat electrics gets dull real fast. Strum strum strum. Yawn.

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Tue Dec 29 2020
5

I love this album. It's cohesive, incredibly catchy, and a defining moment in the 2000s. The flow of the album from song to song, fantastic guitar hooks, and distinctive singing all make this one of my favorite albums of the decade, if not all time.

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Wed Oct 21 2020
5

Hard to Explain är den bästa låten.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Great album. One of my favorite rock albums ever.

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

I don’t recognize this as the cover bc spotify This fucking album SLAPSSSSSSS

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

Hard to think of many more influential albums of the past 20 years or so. Also, a personal favorite.

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Tue Jun 08 2021
5

A very easy 5 stars from me, this is just the type of music that I really connect with. "Is This It", "Barely Legal", "Last Nite" among others

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Thu May 13 2021
5

2000-luvun rock-klassikko josta on vaikea löytää huonoja puolia. Varhainen Strokesin levy, jossa on vielä mukana myöhemmin hieman haalistunutta nuoruuden intoa. Vaikka tämä varmasti on top 20:ssa eniten kuunnelluissa levyissäni, ei se silti kuulosta lainkaan puhkikuunnellulta tai tylsältä. Yhtä selvä vitonen kuin Oasikselle ja Sufjan Stevensille.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Easily in my top 10 favourite albums anyway. Thoroughly enjoyed the first re-listen of the year, certainly won't be the last.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Oh my goodness... Let's goooooo! One.of my favorites

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Mon Jun 21 2021
5

Forgot how much I love this.

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Wed May 26 2021
5

Right in the middle of uni - great.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

I forgot how great this album is.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

What can I say about this gem?! Has to be in my top 25 modern classic albums. All killer, no filler.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Hit de l'album: Someday Excellent album à réécouter. Il me donne envie de marcher vite.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Love it! Definitely a classic alternative album of the early 2000s, and with their very distinctive sound

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Really enjoyed - didn’t listen much when I was younger but this still provides me nostalgia for a time haha

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Música oscura, con tono mas o menos desgarrado del vocalista; buena banda, sonido armónico o sorprendente, no estridente, intimista a veces. Arcade Fire; Blur; The Strokes

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

Despite not being at all original it's flawless without a wasted note on the whole thing

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Some bangers on there. Loads of energy, Someday, Last Nite, New York City Cops all in my favs - don't think I appreciated the album as much at the time but they were a big part of the naughties indie revival. Love the cover was banned in the US too +1 star just for that.

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

always like listening to this band

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

soooo good and such a solid ending

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Sat Mar 20 2021
5

Do i have nostalgia goggles? or is this the best album of the 2000s?

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Sat Mar 20 2021
5

I was in the mood for this today.

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Sun Feb 07 2021
5

YESSSS!! One of my favourite albums ever - easy 5/5 Best tracks: Is This It, New York City Cops, Take It Or Leave It, Hard To Explain

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

A top 5 album of the 21st century.

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Mon Apr 26 2021
5

Absolutely brilliant album, one of my all time favourites

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Tue Apr 27 2021
5

Its insanely fun and has so much energy, all with a undercurrent of tiredness and sadness

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Amazing. Dunno why I hadn't listened to them before.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
5

This was a great album to get. I remember listening to it a lot when it came out and basically wrote them off in the last few years. I'm glad this came up so I could revisit.

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Fri Jul 16 2021
5

A classic album from the early aughts. Their hits somehow never get old.

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Thu Jun 17 2021
5

A fantastic album - and hugely influential. (Alex Turner agrees!)

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Fri Jul 16 2021
5

Grateful for this one. Another certified classic. A band that sounds and feels years older than they were upon release but not because of some 'retro' sound. To this day, the weird attempts to make them out to be something closer to a classic rock revival on their debut is hard to truly wrap your head around now, but all the boomer rags wanted their new Led zep. They wanted to trumpet about how guitars were back, despite never ever leaving. Cringey shit. But the Strokes' age shone thru by way of their lyrical scope and seasoned tightness. Sonically it's such a cohesively considered record. A perfect album that could be played in any order to reach the appropriate conclusions. But moreover, an album of uncomfortable ennui. It's a sad album. It's realizing, too young, that hope is a blasted out crater while trying to consolidate that with a young life that's freewheeling but not so gleefly debauched as to turn full on edgy. Despite sounding deeply cool, it's never a jaded sound. If anything, it's the sound of not wanting to sound jaded.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
5

Damn near perfect indie rock. Everything is just so slick with some very tight guitar riffs. Indie classic. 9-10/10 1. Soma 2. Is This It 3. Take It or Leave It

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Sat Aug 21 2021
5

love so many good songs iconic❤️❤️

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

One of the easiest 5s on the entire list. I love everything about this, especially the way it makes me feel.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

The album that started a generation of indie copy cats in UK.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

I'm not actually a huge Strokes fan. I wouldn't really choose to listen to them but this is a seminal album and has so many bangers

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Thu Sep 02 2021
5

This was a seminal album for me. Came at a very important time in my life when I met my later-to-be wife. I’d play this all the time when she came around. We found that groove.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
4

It's a really solid freshman album. The songs are put together well, the production is admirably transparent, and the performances are energetic and skillful. There's nothing to dislike here.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
3

Heard this one a few times, it's pretty good. There was a lot of this triple j hipster indie rock getting around in the early 00s, but this is one of the few albums I don't just roll my eyes at. Some cool guitar stuff going on at times. 3/5.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
3

Хороший британский рок. Не больше, не меньше. Наверно, всю гениальность The Strokes я так и не понял. Они не стали значимой группой для меня, но некоторые песни мне нравятся и заходят под настроение. 6 из 10

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Fri Sep 01 2023
3

It's good, butt... It didn't change my perspective on anything or bring anything new. It was definitely fresh in 2001. 3.5/5 at most.

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Tue Jan 09 2024
3

5 star cover art. 3 star music.

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Sat Jan 27 2024
3

good album but damn it gets repetitive at times. overall like the sound though so it's a 3/5

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Thu Apr 22 2021
2

'Last Night' is a great little song. It does however appear to be the only song The Strokes have. Everything else sounds exactly like it, like they wrote one good thing and decided to stick with the template as much as they could. They is no variety on this album at all, it's a real disappointment.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
2

Really bland and monotonous. All style, no hooks.

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Sun Nov 21 2021
1

Wow, the album that system it all. And by all, I mean the indistinguishable sameness of early-2000s rock.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
5

älskart, så mysigt!! älskar the strokes!

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Wed May 05 2021
5

is this it el clásico m encanta con mí ser

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Holy baselines, Batman! Alternative mood lifting and sophisticated. Definitely a hit with the modern rock crowd stuck listening to the classics. I actually went back and listened twice! Alone, Together and Trying Your Luck.

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Sun May 09 2021
5

5/5 wow bäst ingen protest. Garagerockens fäder. Bästa låt: Alla. Inget svagt spår, men extra cred till Barely Legal, Hard to Explain och Trying Your Luck.

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Mon Jul 05 2021
5

Never ‘Erd of em mate. Despite what my Strokes wife beater says. I tried to be unbiased with my thoughts here. Not my favourite album of theirs but for a first album, of the time, it’s a pure banger factory. Listening to this yesteday reignited my love for this album and the nostalgia of learning the songs on bass 16 years ago, really brings it home for how fun this is. I was genuinely open to giving this a 3 or 4 but the re-listen brought it back for me. Especially after the 40 minute sitar love in earlier today.

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

The first 21st century album tgat I've ever truly enjoyed, making me excited for indie rock that follows. Massive influence from garage rock and post-punk combined with alt rock that had been largely ignored in the decade prior. Songs are distinctive and exciting with constant instrumental shifts that match the emotional lyrics. Not a single weak song. Each has something unique I love about it. Great opening and closing too, allowing me to feel excited for what was to come and satisfied for how it ended.

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