Man, I remember when I first heard The Strokes on SNL back in ’01. Maybe it was even ’02. It was a long fucking time ago and I really young. Somebody reading this knows when it was. Probably ’01 cuz that’s when Is This It came out. July 30th to be precise, so like three days from now and ten years ago. If I’d been in Toronto this month I would totally have done a big ten year anniversary show cuz that album was big to everyone I know. We were young when it came out but that made it even better – we grew up with The Strokes for real, they were our musical awakening, they our band, them and The White Stripes. It kind of feels like The Strokes betrayed us, eh? Psh – Angles? You call this a Strokes album? Come on guys. Those melodies, those guitars, Casablancas’ badass vocals – those were a revolution of sound back in the day. Anyways, Stereogum got some artists to cover the album. Here were my thoughts.
Marc: Nah, The Strokes are one of the easiest bands to cover and sound awesome with but the ambition of these acts gets the better of them and they often lose the heart and soul of these songs. Really, I think the main thing to remember when covering The Strokes is don’t forget the momentum of the songs – that’s the most important thing. Even if you play the song slower, it’s gotta have slow momentum. That momentum is what really brings those incredible melodies and arrangements to life. Peter, Bjorn and John do a serviceable job with the title track cuz they know that much; Frankie Rose doesn’t have to go crazy to bring a new life and vibe to “Soma” making it one of the most successful efforts of the set; Austra‘s go at “Alone, Together” works pretty well; Morning Benders can only go so wrong with “Last Night”, so it’s pretty solid; Owen Pallett‘s orchestral go at “Hard To Explain” is predictably kick-ass, as orchestral Strokes tends to be; Computer Magic does ok with “Take It Or Leave It”. On the other hand, Real Estate‘s “Barely Legal”, Chelsea Wolfe‘s “The Modern Age”, Wise Blood‘s “Someday” and Deradoorian‘s “Trying My Luck” all manage to make brilliance boring, and Heems kind of raps about New York City cops with a sped-up sample of the songs chorus in there somewhere. That’s a bit too many missed opportunities, but it’s an interesting effort nonetheless, and it’s free so whatever. Also I’m a tough customer cuz I’m [an asshole] a guy who takes his Strokes a little too seriously.