Better late than never: A 10th year anniversary thought on "Is This It?"

By Baby Tuckoo

Mein Gott, I love this record! While the internet is so busy looking for the next big bit of bullshit, I sit thinking about other things, and I re-discover The Strokes’ Is This It? earlier this year, in May 2011. A retrospect of a retrospect.

2002. The start of final year, university. They say it changes your life. Early 2002, I was confronted with some vaguely life-changing shit. Young minds were busy getting bent over by archaic books, and theses and research needed doing. Me? I was frantically downloading music in the early, creaky www heydays.

Is This It? My jaw dropped. First song I heard: Hard to Explain. The first feelings? I think it was love.

The rest followed in the glorious, sporadic kb’s, dripped in slowly like honey: The early EPs/singles, smatterings of live dingy New York recordings and.. the full album. Yeah, this was it. I watched those green kazzaa bars ‘till past midnight waiting… watching. It had to be heard tonight. This was not something that could be put off, like an essay. Education should never be postponed.

And what was this??? What was this strangely offhand, detached, and yet intimate piece of art, filled with casual philosophical barbs. This voice came down the wires. Just a tickey-box telephone conversation with an old friend from the future, an old friend from the past. Behind its time, ahead of its time – I couldn’t tell exactly where I was when I first heard it. Delirious from the sound, teeming with its scratched out guitar solo’s, edgy drum-machine like beats, bombastically subtle bass and the guitar interplay wrapped in the insincere/sincere, sardonic sneer of Julian Casablancas.

So what? Sounded like Lou Reed? Sounded like Morrison? Who really fucking cares. It sounds good is the important thing. That’s all that matters. Why are some people so obsessed with who sounds like what, and what sounds like who? Fuck, man – musicians listen to music, and musicians make music.

And lyrics that, while absurd, held the weight of truth you know comes from only one place.

The album’s effect in truth is still to be felt and even though it shaped the ‘sounds’ of indie rock for the better part of a decade, i still ask myself the question: Did it really? I don’t think that it’s over.

things they have changed,
in such a permanent way.

Thank you, Julian Casablancas. If you’d made just this record alone, you’d have done enough.



Baby Tuckoo

In the cold, cold night a boy was birthed. A flash of white noise; nearby televisions sparked; then returned to normal. Viewer’s wrongly put it down to electrical storm interference. The boy entered the machine. He’s been trying to escape ever since.


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