Nov. 2020 MTP Day 3- “Is This It” by The Strokes

We’re on day 3 now, and we have another rock album. Anybody who knows me well knows my deep affection for rock and roll, and considering that last month all 7 albums were primarily pop, I couldn’t help but include a lot of rock albums, and believe me, we aren’t out of the woods yet. The key to my selections, though, have been the huge variety in styles. It doesn’t take a genius to note how different Appetite for Destruction and Are You Experienced are from each other, and after about 28 seconds of Is This It‘s titular opening track, it will be clear that this album continues that trend. Is This It is not as well known as the prior 2 selections this week, but it is one of the great albums of a genre that we now know as Indie Rock. A key moment in the so called golden age of Indie (1997-2007), The Strokes’ 2001 debut just about perfected the style and execution of Indie Rock, despite being the very first album the band released. Responsible for inspiring and influencing some of the later great acts of Indie rock such as Arcade Fire and The Arctic Monkeys, Is This It is not so much hugely important across music as we know it, but for those who really appreciate the sub-genre the album falls within, the album is monumental. Plus, who could hate that deliciously suggestive alternate album cover?

Is This It contains just about as much artistic merit as you could ask for while also sounding good enough to just put on in the background and passively enjoy. The instrumentation is great, but if you want to get everything that the album offers out, you gotta hear Jimi on this one and really pay attention. Containing a number of songs about sex and some drugs, Is This It could pass as a low substance project more about the sound and energy than the actual art. The Strokes manage to contain themes that might otherwise fall flat by making the album as a whole about life and relationships within New York City. Ultimately, though, the album just sounds good and is a pretty fun and easy listen most of the time. It certainly helps that the runtime is only 35 minutes start to finish, but every moment within that 35 minutes is well crafted and high quality.

Now we arrive at the what won the album section. Trying to decide what single aspect of this record puts it over the top and really makes it what it is is hard. This album is very well crafted and nothing really sticks out to me as lackluster, but at the same time, nothing sticks out as incredible like the musicianship of Slash and Jimi, respectively within the last 2 albums. The reason that I love this album so much is definitely the instrumentals a lot more than the lyrics or vocals. The thing is, there aren’t any specific pieces of the instrumentals that stick out either. The guitars are good, the percussion is good, the bass is good, but they all work together so well and are really well mixed, so the production on this record is what I give the win to. Good work, producers, you really did a bang up job with this one.

So there you have it, a short but very well crafted important piece to it’s sub-genre, and a great gateway to Indie Rock. If you listened to Is This It for the first time and really liked it I highly recommend Funeral by Arcade Fire, AM by the Arctic Monkeys and In Rainbows by Radiohead.

That’s all for today, I hope you all enjoy Is This It by the Strokes!

This is it^

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