Let’s Pray for a Return to Form on Strokes IV

Five years.  It has been five years since my favorite band has put out an album.  Do you know what that’s like?  Five Christmases: disappointment.  Five birthdays: disappointment.  Countless nights spent crying.  Forming a religion based around Julian Casablancas and his feathered mane.  These are but a few of the things that have occurred as a result of The Strokes taking their sweet time delivering a followup to First Impressions of Earth.  They better not call it Second Impressions of Earth, cause I’ve been there

What we can all only hope for now is the grandest of returns for New York’s flagship band.  The album that has made the wait worth it; the album that blows every other album out of the water; the album that becomes the Is This It for the 2010s.  I think they’re going to do it, and the truth is that even if they don’t, the true devotees (myself, Hanan, Eric, and the thirty people who comment on thestrokesnews.com) will be happy no matter what.  Here are some of the things I’m praying for on the album.

  • A duet with Regina Spektor.
  • Only 11 songs, totaling at the most a 45 minute album.  Maybe an extra EP of the songs that didn’t make it?  Acoustic versions like with Julian’s extra solo disk?  That could be cool, but the best songs should always be on the album proper.
  • Some backup vocals from every member at some point.  They can all sing for Christ’s sake!  I’ll understand if they don’t wanna break the flow of just Julian though.  Still, Albert Hammond Jr. on a higher register in choruses (ala being the Frusciante to Julian’s Keidis) would be music to my ears, literally.
  • Less of the hard needly guitar from songs like “Heart In a Cage” and “Vision of Division.”  It honestly just doesn’t sound like the Strokes when they change up the tones that much, and it wouldn’t fit with them returning to their former selves.

These are a few things I thought of, but feel free to add more.  The biggest challenge comes from the band probably not wanting to retread their first two albums.  Although it’s not what critics would want to hear, I’m sure the fans would love nothing more than another Room on Fire as opposed to another FIoE.  The consistency the band has on those two albums is impeccable, and a huge key to their success.  I propose a toast to smart decisions from the Strokes on this album, but in the end everything is up to them.  Time shall tell…

The Strokes – Sagganuts


4 responses to “Let’s Pray for a Return to Form on Strokes IV

  1. #31? i almost have heart attacks when there’s a post about them these day. frusciante, what a great reference =)

  2. Way to be the fan that stays behind. First Impressions was leaps and bounds ahead of is this it. A return to form? christ, could there be a more limiting statement? It’s called artistic progression, why would any artist want to “return to their former selves”? it’s all about moving continually. As for the “needly” guitar sound, the solo in vision of division is fucking incredible. You, dear author, would limit this band to “raukess garage rock”. Well I can tell you The Strokes are moving on, without you. Go pick up a Velvet Underground record and maybe you’ll start to understand why

    • Nate/Steve/Possible real name,
      Did you not read the whole of my Second Impressions and the article above? It’s perfectly fine to have your own opinion, and to disagree in a polite manner, but to yell at me for not having your opinion is a tad rude, no? When I say a “return to form,” I simply mean to say a return to being the critic’s darlings they once were. FIoE is good, and I listen to it frequently, but for me it doesn’t have the same staying power as the first two. Most of my opinion matches up with the general fans’, but it is indeed my sole opinion. I’m not trying to sway the world, but in a way defend the album and point out where it really does shine. Many people overlook it because of its problems, and that’s the true shame of the situation.

      I believe everything I’ve said about FIoE to be more or less true. The band departed a bit too far from their general area, and as a result lost some notoriety. Experimentation is great, and it works on songs like “Juicebox” and even “Heart in a Cage,” but other songs are much more difficult to get through and sound incomplete or over thought. It makes perfect sense for where the band was at the time, what with the extra input instead of just Julian’s writing. And as for the “dissecting music song by song being disgusting,” I believe that this is the complete base of what some call “reviewing music.” What would you like me to say? “This album is good/bad and nothing more?”

      Oh, and in terms of the artist doing things deliberately, this is veeerrryyy rarely the case, especially when there are millions to be made off of a huge act like the Strokes. The band usually has to fight for their ideal version of an album to be put out. I don’t know what the process was for this one, but I doubt it was the band’s vision. They seem smarter than that, really. My suggestions to tweak parts would only have made the songs simpler and back in the form the band was known for, ultimately not changing the feel of them, which is important. They are better at short singles, not prog-ier tracks. Just as a small comparison, the Beatles don’t have a song over 3 and a half minutes on their first SEVEN albums. They knew what they were good at and stuck with it. Likewise, I don’t want to destroy the Strokes’ vision, but just reign them in where they went a bit overboard. That can’t hurt too much, can it?

      While I respect The Velvet Underground for all they did, I will say a lot of it for me is unlistenable, especially the longer tracks. Loaded is great though, and is my favorite. Nico didn’t add much to the band, White Heat/White Light was only half good, and it did make sense they weren’t really noticed in their time based on the recording quality and whatnot. I like the band in the end, though.

      Oh, and the tones the Strokes use are really important to their vibe and popularity. Shedding the “cool chic” sound had an effect on their image, methinks. I like their “garage rock” more than their “Television.” What can i say? ; )

      Thanks for inspiring me to write so much! I almost feel like this should be its own post lol. The Strokes shall move, and I’ll relocate accordingly. I’ll end with “I know you are, but what am I?” Cheers!

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