Hints of previous albums and clear vocals; The Strokes initiate their comeback


The Strokes by Roger Woolman. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Elizabeth Corcoles, Freelance

Ditching their signature fuzzy sound, The Strokes return with their sixth studio album “The New Abnormal,” a fitting title in these strange times. While their peak of relevancy was in the early 2000s, the new album released on April 10 and is prominent with each track being memorable and blissful.

The nine-track album is heavily influenced by 80s pop-punk notes, heavy synths and lead singer Julian Casablancas’ falsetto, all while keeping their garage rock sound that found them success in the first place.



“The Adults Are Talking,” the opening track, premiered over a year ago on the first night of their “global comeback” tour during their first show at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, last May.

The premiere came unexpectedly as fans anticipated their usual setlist, “Last Nite,” “Someday,” “Reptilia” and so forth.

Casablancas sings chilling, clear vocals in the studio version and avoids having to guess lyrics with his signature mumbling — giving the album a refreshing start. The song exceeds all expectations and calmly brings the listener down from bliss with his falsetto.

Ballad “Selfless” follows next with Casablancas exploring his vocal range and hitting higher notes with his sleepy and delicate voice.

The guitar and bass heavy song and shortest track, revolves around love and relationships, with endearing lyrics “Life is too short, but I will live for you” that is reminiscent of their 2003 “Room on Fire” era.

As the album continues released singles “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” and “Bad Decisions” follow with a fun upbeat retro sound that incorporate synths and a pop-punk sound. With “Bad Decisions” incorporating Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” it’s nothing innovative, rather just catchy tunes.

A fan favorite, “Eternal Summer” is the fifth track on the album and has a psychedelic, angsty, retro sound that interpolates The Psychedelic Furs “The Ghost In You.”

The new wave track is centered around Casablancas switching from a falsetto to hoarse. With lyrics suggesting that climate change is becoming inevitable and being content with not knowing the truth, this philosophical track raises questions from lyrics “They’ve got the remedy, but they won’t let it happen.”

Lyrically and vocally “Why Are Sundays So Depressing?” has a substantial amount of potential and is easily a song to admire and consider a favorite with Casablancas’ transitioning from dull vocals back to a soulful sound.

However, it is also a track that questions why the band felt the heavy synths and guitar grinding were crucial to the track.

The track follows a simple note, which then transitions into a heavy synthesizer and grinding guitar riffs that are expected, but deliver an agonizing sound in between chorus’.

The band make up the agonizing sound with synth heavy track “At the Door,” and “Not The Same Anymore,” “Ode To The Mets,” that offer clean riffs, bass heavy and Fabrizio Moretti’s impeccable drumming.

Every song has hints of what could have been in other albums, they’re small pieces that remind fans that they’re the same band they were some 20 years ago, but have grown up and are ready for the global takeover they once knew.

With lyrics “I get it right sometime, maybe not tonight,” implying hesitation, The Strokes did in fact get it right. Even after some 20 odd years, the band’s large following are at peace seeing The Strokes aren’t ending their musical journey with EP “Future Present Past.”

The New Abnormal” is a definite 9/10.