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Alternative & Indie - Released September 1, 2001 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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]. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released March 25, 2013 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2020 | Cult Records - RCA Records

Hi-Res Booklet
Finally! The Strokes never stood taller in their Conversed feet than they did at their début 20 years ago. That's quite a while to be in the wilderness. In 2001, Is This It revitalised a moribund rock. Influenced by Velvet Underground and Television but also, more surprisingly, by Pearl Jam and Nirvana according to Albert Hammond Jr., the five boys headed by Julian Casablancas, son of the boss of Elite and Miss Denmark 1965, had the perfect lo-fi, minimalist rock sound and the nonchalant punk attitude to go with it. Naturally, everything had been well thought-out. "Make it sound old but like it’s from 2001", Casablancas once said. Back to sloppy guitars, bass and drums for fucked-up-sounding tracks. Down with electronics. The first album's miracle formula eroded under the weight of subsequent releases, ego duels, experiments with kidnapped synths, and it ended with the pale Comedown Machine (2013), relegating the New Yorkers to has-been status. But The New Abnormal and its prophetic title are inspired. With its visual portrayal of Bird On Money, Basquiat's exquisite tribute to Charlie Parker, The Strokes walked that thin line between underground and popular, the salt of the 80s. In the Big Apple, with Blondie. But also in Elizabeth's Kingdom. Impossible not to think of Human League's Don’t You Want Me when hearing Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus. Or Billy Idol's sharp lyricism and Morrissey's vocals on Bad Decisions. From the opening and for 45 minutes thereafter, everything will be moving. From the relentless gimmickry of The Adults Are Talking with Casablancas' busted falsetto, to the groovy Eternal Summer that calls up shades of Roger Waters on Pigs, to a plaintive Selfless with a Chris Martin tinge: Casablanca's voice is amazing, and he finally has something to say. To put some freshness back into their maturity, and oil into the sputtering engine, the quintet called upon their "saviour" Rick Rubin, founder of Def Jam. And they struck gold. Calculated melodies that feel spontaneous, synthetic textures with old-fashioned charm, economical guitars and broken-down tempos, everything works beautifully. A work with a chipped but refined beauty, both solar and lunar, that will stand the test of time. © Charlotte Saintoin / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2003 | RCA Records Label

Unlike many bands that release notable debut albums and then take years to deliver a follow-up, the Strokes got Room on Fire out as quickly as possible after their lengthy tour for Is This It. Good thing, too; the two years between their debut and this album were long enough for the expectations for -- and the backlash against -- a new Strokes album to reach formidable proportions. And the Strokes sound like they have a lot to prove on Room on Fire, not to their naysayers, but to themselves. On the surface, the album isn't drastically different than Is This It, but it's not predictable. Instead of delivering an album's worth of "Last Nite"s, "Someday"s, and "NYC Cop"s, Room on Fire expands on their debut's off-kilter and complex tracks, like "Is This It?" and "Hard to Explain." The album's first single, "12:51," signals the Strokes' intent: its whistling, synth-like guitars and handclaps are undeniably catchy, but at first, the song seems to be searching for a structure. Eventually, though, it becomes sneakily addictive -- it's a stealth pop song. Likewise, the album opens with "What Ever Happened?," on which Julian Casablancas snarls "I wanna be forgotten/And I don't wanna be reminded" -- not exactly the likeliest start to what should be a triumphant second album from one of the most celebrated rock bands of the 2000s. In many ways, Room on Fire is the Strokes' bid to be taken seriously, which may be why they began this album with producer Nigel Godrich before returning to Is This It producer Gordon Raphael. To his credit, Raphael gives the album its own sound: it's brighter and fuller than Is This It's low-rent production. Room on Fire also has a distinct attitude. Is This It sounded effortless, but it's evident that a great deal of effort was put into Room on Fire. Yet the album's most crafted moments are its most exciting: "Automatic Stop," a playful, poignant look back at a love triangle, lopes along to a reggae beat (and features the witty lyrics "So many fish there in the sea/I wanted her/He wanted me"). "Under Control," an awkwardly gorgeous homage to '60s soul, is possibly the best Strokes song yet. Several songs recapture some of Is This It's exuberance; not surprisingly, they're the ones that the band wrote while on tour. "You Talk Way Too Much" revs on one of their most Velvets-y riffs; "Meet Me in the Bathroom"'s Motown-like bassline and shimmery guitars add some style to its underlying sleaze. However, the Strokes are a different band than when they recorded Is This It, and Room on Fire's best songs acknowledge that. There's a weariness lingering around Room on Fire like stale smoke, especially on "The End Has No End," a loop of a song about a nagging breakup that repeats its seemingly nonsensical title in a surprisingly affecting way. "Reptilia," meanwhile, sounds like a long night of partying turned sour. "Please don't slow me down if I'm going too fast," Casablancas wails (most of Room on Fire's distortion comes from his vocals, which give the impression that he's gargled with turpentine and brushed his teeth with steel wool for the past two years). The motif of moving too fast and not minding it winds through Room on Fire, reflecting its svelte 33-minute running time as well as the swiftness of the Strokes' career. This compressed feel, the precision of the band's playing and arrangements, and the way every song comes to an abrupt stop sometimes make the album sound too closed-off. Room on Fire's best moments fight against this tendency and suggest that the Strokes are continuing to grow, perhaps beyond what their listeners want from them. Some may gripe that it's never as good as the first time, but Room on Fire shows that even after all that happened to the Strokes, they can still surprise. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 21, 2011 | RCA Records Label

When the Strokes returned from their lengthy post-First Impressions of Earth hiatus with Angles, they’d been apart almost as long as they’d been together. While they were gone, they cast a long shadow: upstarts like the Postelles and Neon Trees borrowed more than a few pages from their stylebook, and even established acts like Phoenix used the band’s strummy guitar pop for their own devices. During that time, the members of the Strokes pursued side projects that were more or less engaging, but it felt like the band still had unfinished business; though First Impressions was ambitious, it didn’t feel like a final statement. For that matter, neither does Angles, which arrived just a few months shy of their classic debut Is This It's tenth anniversary. Clocking in at a svelte 34 minutes, it’s as short as the band’s early albums, but Angles is a different beast. Somehow, the Strokes sound more retro here than they did before, with slick production coating everything in a new wave sheen. Fabrizio Moretti's drums are more precise than ever, and Julian Casablancas' voice is blanketed in distortion that stands in sharp contrast to his pristine surroundings. Nick Valensi is Angles' star, turning in witty responses to Casablancas' vocals and dazzling solos like the one that graces “Two Kinds of Happiness”' mix of power pop and post-punk. The Strokes deliver a few quintessential moments: “Under Cover of Darkness” is an über-Strokes song, with tumbling verses that borrow “Last Night”'s melody and soaring, secretly earnest choruses; meanwhile, “Machu Picchu”'s reggae-fied strut harks back to Room on Fire. They sound even better on “Taken for a Fool,” which, with lines like “Monday, Tuesday is my weekend,” rivals their earlier songs for quotability, and on “Gratisfaction,” which plays like the perfect cross between Nick Lowe's “And So It Goes” and everything Billy Joel recorded from the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | RCA Records Label

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 24, 2001 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2003 | Rough Trade

Unlike many bands that release notable debut albums and then take years to deliver a follow-up, the Strokes got Room on Fire out as quickly as possible after their lengthy tour for Is This It. Good thing, too; the two years between their debut and this album were long enough for the expectations for -- and the backlash against -- a new Strokes album to reach formidable proportions. And the Strokes sound like they have a lot to prove on Room on Fire, not to their naysayers, but to themselves. On the surface, the album isn't drastically different than Is This It, but it's not predictable. Instead of delivering an album's worth of "Last Nite"s, "Someday"s, and "NYC Cop"s, Room on Fire expands on their debut's off-kilter and complex tracks, like "Is This It?" and "Hard to Explain." The album's first single, "12:51," signals the Strokes' intent: its whistling, synth-like guitars and handclaps are undeniably catchy, but at first, the song seems to be searching for a structure. Eventually, though, it becomes sneakily addictive -- it's a stealth pop song. Likewise, the album opens with "What Ever Happened?," on which Julian Casablancas snarls "I wanna be forgotten/And I don't wanna be reminded" -- not exactly the likeliest start to what should be a triumphant second album from one of the most celebrated rock bands of the 2000s. In many ways, Room on Fire is the Strokes' bid to be taken seriously, which may be why they began this album with producer Nigel Godrich before returning to Is This It producer Gordon Raphael. To his credit, Raphael gives the album its own sound: it's brighter and fuller than Is This It's low-rent production. Room on Fire also has a distinct attitude. Is This It sounded effortless, but it's evident that a great deal of effort was put into Room on Fire. Yet the album's most crafted moments are its most exciting: "Automatic Stop," a playful, poignant look back at a love triangle, lopes along to a reggae beat (and features the witty lyrics "So many fish there in the sea/I wanted her/He wanted me"). "Under Control," an awkwardly gorgeous homage to '60s soul, is possibly the best Strokes song yet. Several songs recapture some of Is This It's exuberance; not surprisingly, they're the ones that the band wrote while on tour. "You Talk Way Too Much" revs on one of their most Velvets-y riffs; "Meet Me in the Bathroom"'s Motown-like bassline and shimmery guitars add some style to its underlying sleaze. However, the Strokes are a different band than when they recorded Is This It, and Room on Fire's best songs acknowledge that. There's a weariness lingering around Room on Fire like stale smoke, especially on "The End Has No End," a loop of a song about a nagging breakup that repeats its seemingly nonsensical title in a surprisingly affecting way. "Reptilia," meanwhile, sounds like a long night of partying turned sour. "Please don't slow me down if I'm going too fast," Casablancas wails (most of Room on Fire's distortion comes from his vocals, which give the impression that he's gargled with turpentine and brushed his teeth with steel wool for the past two years). The motif of moving too fast and not minding it winds through Room on Fire, reflecting its svelte 33-minute running time as well as the swiftness of the Strokes' career. This compressed feel, the precision of the band's playing and arrangements, and the way every song comes to an abrupt stop sometimes make the album sound too closed-off. Room on Fire's best moments fight against this tendency and suggest that the Strokes are continuing to grow, perhaps beyond what their listeners want from them. Some may gripe that it's never as good as the first time, but Room on Fire shows that even after all that happened to the Strokes, they can still surprise. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2006 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 25, 2013 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 21, 2011 | Rough Trade

When the Strokes returned from their lengthy post-First Impressions of Earth hiatus with Angles, they’d been apart almost as long as they’d been together. While they were gone, they cast a long shadow: upstarts like the Postelles and Neon Trees borrowed more than a few pages from their stylebook, and even established acts like Phoenix used the band’s strummy guitar pop for their own devices. During that time, the members of the Strokes pursued side projects that were more or less engaging, but it felt like the band still had unfinished business; though First Impressions was ambitious, it didn’t feel like a final statement. For that matter, neither does Angles, which arrived just a few months shy of their classic debut Is This It's tenth anniversary. Clocking in at a svelte 34 minutes, it’s as short as the band’s early albums, but Angles is a different beast. Somehow, the Strokes sound more retro here than they did before, with slick production coating everything in a new wave sheen. Fabrizio Moretti's drums are more precise than ever, and Julian Casablancas' voice is blanketed in distortion that stands in sharp contrast to his pristine surroundings. Nick Valensi is Angles' star, turning in witty responses to Casablancas' vocals and dazzling solos like the one that graces “Two Kinds of Happiness”' mix of power pop and post-punk. The Strokes deliver a few quintessential moments: “Under Cover of Darkness” is an über-Strokes song, with tumbling verses that borrow “Last Night”'s melody and soaring, secretly earnest choruses; meanwhile, “Machu Picchu”'s reggae-fied strut harks back to Room on Fire. They sound even better on “Taken for a Fool,” which, with lines like “Monday, Tuesday is my weekend,” rivals their earlier songs for quotability, and on “Gratisfaction,” which plays like the perfect cross between Nick Lowe's “And So It Goes” and everything Billy Joel recorded from the late ‘70s to the early ‘80s. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 19, 2004 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2002 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 24, 2006 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 20, 2006 | Rough Trade

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 20, 2006 | Rough Trade

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Rock - Released September 23, 2002 | RCA Records Label

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Pop - Released September 23, 2002 | RCA Records Label

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 5, 2005 | Rough Trade

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 22, 2011 | Ismael Records - TMG