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March 30, 2011

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bill

I liked that one song they did on that one album.

Matt Miller

I don't dislike The Strokes, but bringing up their influence on Franz Ferdinand in their defense is really just asking for it...

A different Brian

Lovely, you old rockist, but it was rather an unfair fight, what with your native English syntax and actual argument. How he doesn't just throw in towel after "post-grunge postulation," I don't know.

lipranzer

Enjoyed your cogent argument, Glenn, but I must say (1) yes, I still think the Yeah Yeah Yeahs matter (or at least Karen O, as per her soundtrack to WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE), and (2) I do like the song of the Strokes Sofia Coppola used in SOMEWHERE.

That Fuzzy Bastard

What does it mean, at this point, for a band to "matter"?

Jimmy

"Cause nothin' can change the Shape of Things to Come..."

AIP...Chris Jones...Richard Pryor...Mann/Weill...Mike Curb...

Coolsville.

Jonathan W.

If anything, the Strokes did serve as a well-publicized gateway for young 00s music fans into a musical landscape more devoid of lumbering, moaning Creed hulks. Or at least into a world of publications where a leaner band more interested in an even superficial survey of pop history could become a big deal. Zwickel's case is hurt by trying to point to specific bands (shoot me if he really believes Kings of Leon are saviors of anything) and trying to cater to the possibility that their new album really REALLY (kinda) matters, when - yeah - this stuff mostly registers as a musical curio now in a big pop landscape. But their music really did matter once for select people of my age, as much for believing its BS about coolness as for simple but brisk melodies.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go back to the latest Michael Pisaro album.

Frank McDevitt

Well the Yeah Yeah Yeahs last album, "It's Blitz!", was kind of huge and won a ton of critical acclaim, and it sold fairly well. It's also really, really good. So you know, people still care about them. I'm a Strokes shoulder shrugger, but it's silly (and a bit churlish) to trash on a successful band like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs just to make your point about the questionable relevance of the Strokes.

Zach

Interesting debate, and well argued Glenn, although for me it's mostly irrelevant to my enjoyment of the music. I'm a Strokes partisan, and I think their new album is solid as hell, but I'm not nearly as interested in rationalizing that view as I would be about any given film I admired. To me, good pop songs are magical; a three minute excursion into bliss, but they are also hermetically closed in a way few other art forms are, and explicating what makes them great has always seemed a fool's errand. (I also don't pay much attention to lyrics, which I'm told makes me something of a weirdo, but to me, lyrics are important only insofar as they augment the rhythm and melody of the song. Bob Dylan is great, but half the time I don't care what he's singing - what's exciting is the melody and the texture of his voice.)

So for me, it's about the sound of the songs, and ANGLES has some killer songs. Glenn, a big part of your problem with the Strokes seems to stem from Casablancas rubbing you the wrong way. I understand that, but I think you're taking him too seriously - the douchiness he exudes just never bothered me. I think it's kind of an interesting combination of actual irritability and having fun with the whole rockstar aloofness thing. For me, he writes and sings (mostly) well, and that's what's important.

-For the record, and I know this might grate on certain folks, but I don't see Casablanca's persona as any more silly and thin than Lou Reed's was in his prime.

Chris O.

I liked Casablancas' solo single "Out of the Blue" better than anything I've heard off the new album, thus far.

Fun read, though. I hope more like it is forthcoming.

Mr. Ziffel

Jack White kicks Casablancas' ass.

Scott

Fun discussion! I like The Strokes, though I haven't listened to them in a while, and haven't heard any of the new record, so I don't have much to add. I will mention, though, that I'm a big fan of Albert Hammond Jr.'s "Yours to Keep", which I think is a great pop album.

Anyway, this is off-topic, but in keeping with the music theme, it feels appropriate. I just this morning finished Jennifer Egan's book, "A Visit from the Goon Squad". Has anyone here read it? It recently came out in paperback, but it was arguably the most acclaimed American novel of 2010. It's tremendously good, and a book that would definitely appeal to people in the music industry (or music lovers in general), since it's largely set in that world. I seem to remember having an interesting discussion about Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom" here on Glenn's blog a while ago. Anyone who liked "Freedom" would do well to pick up Egan's book, which I feel is quite similar in theme, scope and ambition, but which pulls it all off a lot more successfully (and movingly), if you ask me.

James Keepnews

Jimmy -- And Hal Holbrook. And Shelley Winters (I'd say she finally jumps the harridan shark with this picture, jumping back only with NEXT STOP, GREENWICH VILLAGE and, to my delight, THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, for which I otherwise ain't got much truck). AND, c'mon, Will Robinson himself, Billy Mumy!!! I know, you thought I was going to say Joe Strummer...

James Keepnews

Oh, and more on topic, I believe it was Jimmy Johnson in the late, lamented, Forced Exposure -- the best magazine in the world, probably the best magazine that ever was -- who, in summing up a review of a release whose particulars I can no longer recall, expressed my precise feelings regarding The Strokes: Please fuck them.

Steve Pick

Fascinating discussion, but truly weird - you're arguing from a standpoint of historical knowledge and attempts at understanding what's going on; he's arguing from a standpoint of how much it fits his personal identity, thus connecting his taste with some cultural relevance that honestly, I can't figure out in an age where every single person has to trumpet their own individual taste uber alles. Do the Strokes ape New York rock tropes of the past without quite achieving something bigger? Who cares? They have hooks within hooks, whatever that means.

Two things - as much as I love you writing about film, music criticism needs your voice desperately these days. And secondly, the Casablancas solo album really did prick up my ears more than anything the Strokes have ever done. Inconsequential, probably, but not monumentally so.

eric puls

Real ho-hum cage match. Look, the Strokes' best record is "Room On Fire". It's an unstoppable hookfest made up of songs played with velocity and brio and sung with attractive dégagé. To my ears it always had more in common with "Candy-O" than with "Transformer" or "Adventure". The latest record is pretty darn good too, maybe a little thin in spots, but still an absolute riot of hooks.

I'll always remember them scrunched together on the Empty Bottle stage, opening for GBV, Hammond's left hand a blur, Jules wild-eyed vox, the piston beats, the get fucked attitude, and a string of pop/punk gems, one fast after the other, that built to an astonishing climax. "We're the Strokes from New York City," and off they stalked. Greatness was foisted upon them because they were great. We had no other option.

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