- Last year, I went on a bit of a rant about how The Strokes should not be allowed to become arena rock mainstays solely by virtue of their one good album, which will be ten years old this summer. Yet, here we are, and their fourth album is finally upon us, a gift from the cool gods for the Urban Outfitters generation to play at their loft parties and thrift store excursions. The band celebrated its release by playing a vaunted slot at South By Southwest and a hometown gig in the most hip, cutting edge bastion of gritty rock n’ roll - Madison Square Garden. What better venue to witness a band that was supposed to bring “real” rock music back to the forefront of pop culture?
Someone just posted this video on Facebook, and while at one point they would have seemed cool and filled to the brim with attitude, now they just strike me as tired and annoying. I can’t think of a once cool band that is more irrelevant and obsolete than The Strokes. First of all, the new album sucks. It’s the same, tired, bouncy crap that they’ve been doing for the past decade. Second, and more to the point, bands exactly like them have been trotting this stuff out ad nauseum in their absence. They are no longer needed to write fluffy bullshit pop songs under the guise of “indie rock.” Only every cool young band is doing that and has been doing that for, I dunno, let’s say ten years now.
Just like Broken Social Scene has been eclipsed by countless other “indie pop” bands with unnecessary members and “epic” songs, The Strokes are outflanked by dozens of imitators who, frankly, can write songs just as well as the New York quintet can - or could, anyway. That’s not to say that the imitators or the originators are any good. Quite the opposite - it just cements their utter irrelevance and proves their obsolescence.
Watching that video, I was reminded of a time where The Strokes’ pompous, carefree attitude was somewhat refreshing in the wake of boy/girl groups and nu-metal. They brought back the swagger, the piss and vinegar of rock n’ roll. Now, watching that video just makes me want to punch them. Every single look and gesture is so obviously put on, so unbelievably insincere that it’s hard to imagine that anyone fell for it in the first place. It appears especially dated when you consider the fact that every kid from the suburbs with a vest and a fedora who invariably moves to the city only to drop out of art school has started a band that sounds, looks and acts exactly like this. It hasn’t gotten better, only much, much worse. Why bother with the original when the clone is just as good - or bad, as it were?
The Strokes are frauds. Stop buying their records. Stop hyping up their shows. Stop paying attention to this bullshit. Stop making me write an annual rant about how much they suck. Find a new record to listen to for another ten years. Just this time, try to make it one that gets played by guys who look less like total assholes on stage.