Reasons Not To Kill Yourself Today, No. 9: The Strokes Are Still With Us

I remember where I was when I first heard The Strokes: in first-year English class, my redheaded half-Jewish crush beside me, splitting earbuds. So. Which is worse, for you to think I’m two years older than I am, or to think I heard it two years too late? Yeahhh, ’twas the latter.

Is This It blew open my mind. Til then, I’d been into R&B and emo. Good old rock and roll was not a thing I’d been raised on (try “church pop”), and wasn’t it dead anyway? It wasn’t. The Strokes were visceral, vital. When I moved to my city and went to a summer festival on our tiny island, they played and I almost fainted, the way girls did in the 60s. Fab smoked a single cigarette, no hands, the whole damn time he was drumming. So. Cool.

I’ve never stopped thinking they were cool. The Strokes went on to make mediocre albums, but they also kept on wearing leather jackets and sleeping with famous girls and having substance problems and not washing their hair. Even now that they’re “old,” they’re not lame. They just reek of rotted glory. Four to the floor and six sheets to the wind, always, they defy the widespread Brooklynization of indie rock. They are the last Manhattan assholes.

These days, they hate each other and they hate their new album, and I guess they’re just staying together for the kids. But damn! If they don’t make us all still feel like kids. I’ve never been at a bar when “Someday” came on and not found myself suddenly dancing with strangers.

The other night, where I live, a bunch of local musicians and enthusiasts got together for something called I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Strokes. They would play Is This It from beginning to end, with the same band and different singers for each song. We each paid five dollars. It was hard to explain (ha… okay, sorry) to most people why this would be something to see, but fuck you, it was.

Probably the best part of it was when the girl in charge (oh yeah, it was a girl) got up and talked about how “New York City Cops” wasn’t on the first record, because of 9/11 “making people really sensitive,” but they were going to play it anyway because it’s such a good song. Which it is. And when they played it, they slayed it. It’s a good time to be thinking about “New York City Cops” again, given current events and everything, but it’s a better time to not be thinking about it and just yelling it instead.

Punk might be dead (or it might be Odd Future or something), but rock and roll is different. It’s not political. It’s pure as the earth’s own dirt. It’s when you know all the words and scream all the words and the drums kick the shit out of you and there’s a mosh pit and beer gets in your hair and you just don’t care. Rock and roll isn’t rhyme or reason. It just is. This is it.

It’s been a long decade, but we’re not tired. We’re alright, we’re alive, we still sing the same songs. When after the show I got out of the sweat-heavy air and into the shivering night, I breathed in until it hurt. TC mark


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  • Weeb

    When I started reading I knew “this is it” would be making an appearance.

  • prettypetty

    “Rotted glory”

    That is exactly it. Oh I love them so much.

  • Bob

    This attempt to describe The Strokes' importance by this half-wit “music journalist” actually makes me want to kill myself. Ill-conceived and vapid.

    • eqv

      kind of wish it was more 'ill-conceived and vapid' so that you would actually 'kill yourself'.

  • Rahelielio

    Where was this Strokes cover band party and when is the next one? I would/will rock the shit out of that.

    • SisterRay

      Yeah really. I wanna get this started in every city.

  • Lily

    This might have been a good article if it didn't read as if it was written stoned on your mobile in a bus.

  • JDL

    I saw The Strokes two weeks ago. While it was a very cathartic experience, as I've waited ten years to actually see them play, I couldn't help but wonder, if this really was it — that after they played “Last Night,” “Someday” and select tracks from their other albums (“Room On Fire,” “Taken For A Fool” spring to mind right now), that this would just be another thing to cross off the bucket list.

    Yes, The Strokes are still with us, they put on a good set, and I was content for an hour or so, but after they played, I knew that Julian would retreat to his private Megabus full of designer sunglasses, leather jackets, and disco balls. Nick Valensi would go home to his wife, visions of bespoke suits in garish colors would dance in Albert Hammond Jr. 's head, Nikolai Fraiture would wonder why he didn't write more songs on Angles, and Fabrizio Moretti would still be thinking “What if Little Joy took off?”

  • Greg Petliski

    Such a sexy logo too. Props to whoever designed that.

  • lil

    This is the bad type of corn. And your choice to include Odd Future isn't helping your “what I'm trying to convey here is cool” attitude out.

    • Greg


  • stephen

    I love The Strokes.

    Sweet that you were into R&B and emo when you heard “Is This It.”

    • Greg

      I loved that…I was strictly into r&b and hip-hop when I first heard reptilia on MTV2 and immediately tracked down is this it

  • Stan


  • mack

    I'm really happy Thought Catalog isn't too hipster to acknowledge the greatness of the Strokes.

  • xra

    hard to explain is the best strokes song

  • valentine-kitchenson

    As a hardcore Strokes fangirl, I actually support this chick's writing (although I will defend to the death that the Strokes' albums were never mediocre). I think she hit the nail on the head here. I also will disagree that this is written “ill-conceived and vapid” or as if she were “stoned on her mobile on a bus.” Props to this girl, long live the Strokes, long live rock 'n roll.

  • sloppysoup

    really? eh.

  • microfiche

    I just listened to Someday today and I watched the video and god, it was so good to believe in rock'n'roll. Now the rock scene seems kind of worn out and boring and as much as I like all these new electronic acts, my heart still likes sweaty boys with guitars the most.

  • professor bum

    Strokes opened up my musical taste in the 8th grade….reading about them online sent me chasing down references to the Clash and the Velvet Underground, and from then on, things just weren't the same for me. I agree with the author….they might be rich and snotty and pompous and now old, but they saved a whole lot of church pop listeners.

  • moi

    I've seen them twice live. They are so boring.

  • U_suck

    wow, i can't believe the strokes are still getting any attention at all. i hate the world and all the unevolved retards who like the strokes.

    • voila

      you should probably kill yourself then because you must be really really miserable :(

  • paige

    there are only two things i disagree with here. 1. i don’t find any of their albums to be “mediocre” to be honest and 2. they definitely don’t hate each other now. that’s all media hype and i don’t like to see people spread that because it’s simply not true. if you really knew the strokes you’d know they all love each other like brothers and they still do. but other than that good article.

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