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Is This It?
     

Is This It?

4.7 39
by The Strokes
 

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Hands down the most anticipated rock-'n'-roll debut of 2001, the Strokes' Is This It? comes burdened with unrealistic expectations: that it will save guitar rock, that it's the reincarnation of 1970s CBGB's punk attitude, that it's this year's definitive New York album. Whatever. Forget the hype and just relish this swaggering, infectious, street-smart album.

Overview

Hands down the most anticipated rock-'n'-roll debut of 2001, the Strokes' Is This It? comes burdened with unrealistic expectations: that it will save guitar rock, that it's the reincarnation of 1970s CBGB's punk attitude, that it's this year's definitive New York album. Whatever. Forget the hype and just relish this swaggering, infectious, street-smart album. Vocalist Julian Casablancas falls in the tradition of gritty urban art-punks who trace their roots to Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, but Casablancas adds a nod to the Fall's Mark E. Smith. What makes this band of young New Yorkers -- prep school refugees in their early 20s -- exceptional is their balance of a sexy, rock star attitude with old-fashioned rock-'n'-roll rhythms that might actually get jaded, black-clad hipsters up and dancing. "Last Nite" lifts the bass line from the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" and the guitar hook from Tom Petty's "American Girl" and arrives somewhere entirely new but completely familiar -- and irresistible. The 36-minute album includes all the songs from the singles that prompted the hype, although some of the versions differ. Maybe some tracks have more 'tude than tune, but that's quibbling in the face of such brash, exuberant, and genuinely exciting songs as "The Modern Age," "Someday," and "Hard to Explain." Perhaps the album title alludes to the inevitable letdown following a surge of hype, but the band needn't have worried: Yes, this is it.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
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].
Rolling Stone - Joe Levy
So what does the best young rock band in America sound like? Frantic, for starters…. The short, choppy guitar riffs and bottles-breaking-on-the-sidewalk drumbeats bring to mind the punk rock of New York and London, to be sure, but Is This It jumps along like punk as played by a boogie band; that is, a band in a mad rush to get to the finish and gram a cold beer and a warm girl.… [It's] more joyful and intense than anything else I've heard this year.
Blender - Mark Lepage
The biggest draw is the Iggy-Jagger sexual charisma of 22-year-old singer Julian Casablancas, whose self-possessed cool is astonishing.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/06/2001
Label:
Rca Victor Europe
UPC:
0078636804521
catalogNumber:
368045
Rank:
26308

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Is This It? 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have heard many of the good albums to come out since london calling (nevermind, ten, ...and justice for all, born in the usa, joshua tree, love and theft) but this album beats all of those. it is a fantastic album with great music. and considering every other group out today looks the same, uses les paul's, doesn't do drugs, and use the same power chords every song, this group is a great alternative buy this album
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE IT! Phenomenal!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Yo...these guys just ROCK OUT. i listened to their album on my drive back from school (6 hours) and it kept me entertained the 2 times i listened to it. these guys rock hard.real hard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is what rock is susposed to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could talk all about how there are cooler, more talented, and less apreciated bands than the Strokes, but I won't. When I listen to this disk, I can't help enjoying myself. There sound is so smooth and radio friendly, in the most refreshing way. OK, they don't live up to Televsion, let alone the Velvet Underground, but not everyone is old enough to remember who those guys were. I admit it, if it wasn't for the Strokes, I wouldn't have discovered their great predecessors. Besides, these guys have a blend of styles that creates their own unique sound. They're not ripping off anyone's style, this is truly them. And hey, if you listen to this album without tapping your foot, your either dead, or too old to listen to good rock & roll anymore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this cd after listening to it for only 20 minutes. I loved it immediately. I would highly reccomend buying it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this album, and I don't even care for punk. But this album is moving and Casablancas is hypnotic in his lyrics. It all sounds like a finely tuned machine, that needs oil. It's great though. One of my favorite CDs
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who doesnt like this album is braindead. It's not a masterpiece but lighten up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you haven't already bought the Strokes cd, THEN DO IT NOW! I love The Strokes, they remind me of such wonderful bands as The Ramones and The Velvet Underground. The Strokes are truely one of the most original and extrodinary bands to date!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I heard of the Strokes about a two months ago through an article in a magazine. I bought their album about a month ago, not expecting much because of all the ''hype'' around them, but as soon as I put in my CD player I find that I just can't take it out. I listen to it everyday and had the pleasure of seeing them in concert a month ago. If you love rock music, then try this album out. I can't wait to see what they do next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply put, this is the best album I've heard in the past 25 years. It blows away everything playing on the radio right now. It's rock and roll with brilliance, balls, anger and beauty. Comparisons to ''punk'' bands from the late '70s are apparently pity-inspired compliments to late '70s bands, because, with IS THIS IT, Julian and the boys have already surpassed any and all things those (mostly) amateurs achieved. Bottom line: this album kicks a** and will stay on your turntable or CD changer for good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent debut album.''Modern Age'' for song of the year.''Barely Legal'' and ''Is This It'' also great songs. A shame ''NYCC'' was left off the american cd version.
Guest More than 1 year ago
These guys are incredible! Everything you've heard about them is true. They combine the snotty, street-wise attitude of an edgy Costello with the polical rage of the Clash. Combine that passion with intiguing Televion-style guitar interplay and you've got tne best band around. Move over Radiohead!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Strokes are simply one of the coolest bands ever. Immediately catchy, addictive, and wonderfully energetic music. This is great music, and Julian Casablancas has more charisma than any other frontman out there. BUY THIS ALBUM!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Did you even hear their songs? It is so addictive if you ask me. They are one of the best rock and rollers ever. I liked them since i was 12 yrs. old (2002). I probably am the youngest fan of the strokes. They're hot and they rock!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Strokes album, Is This It? is one of the best records of the year! Swaggering, clever vocals combined with up tempo rock beats, drive this album from beginning to end. This NYC band gives all rock and roll fans something to be excited about. Not since Oasis, has a band come along and generated such excitement for music fans, The Strokes do that now! This will be the first of many great Strokes albums to come!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album mixs great rock with a smoothe 70s sounding style and pulls it all together for a great album! This is a must get for rock fan!
Guest More than 1 year ago
With the garage punk revival in full swing, many new bands have come into prominence hoping to take away the MTV "alternative" crown from reigning Blink 182 and Green Day. I hate to break the news to you, folks, but the Strokes aren't gonna save rock and roll. For all you kids that are bitter because you were born too late to see the Who or the Clash in their prime, keep your heads up and find something unique to your own generation. You don't need a throwback like the Strokes. How are you gonna be rebellious if you're listening to the same music as your parents? Besides, the Strokes have an insipid and contrived sound. Everything is produced well except for Julian Casablanca's vocals, which just makes you think. As a side note, The Hives and the White Stripes have a lot more energy, better songs, and much sharper clothes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one awesome CD, I must say. I never knew how cool they'd turn out to be! I heard about them from a friend and I kept saying I'd check it out, then I never got to. I kept putting it off for a really long time, and now that I've finally listened to them, they're so tight. Great job, guys. :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the only good new bands out right now. For anyone who likes older punk,i.e. Ramones or newer anti-pop music bands
Guest More than 1 year ago
these guys rule. incredible. we neeed this, honestly there's nothing too good out now so how are we going to survive with like britney?. rock is comin back baby. ohh i know it. need i say more? listen to it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is hands down the best cd i have ever heard in my entire life. these peole are finally reviving the mainstream music with catchy, underground, innovative rhythms. if i could, i would have a chip implanted into my head so that i could listen to this album over and over again for the rest of my life!