Album Review: The Strokes – Angles

Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting…

I’ll admit that I didn’t really get into The Strokes until maybe a little over a year ago.  Before that the only real experience I had with them was “Last Night” back when I was in high school, and when I first started playing drums on Rock Band, I fucking hated that I couldn’t beat “Reptilia”.  Then I gave them a more dedicated listen, and I found myself becoming borderline obsessed with a handful of songs (“New York City Cops”, “Vision of Division”, “Fear of Sleep” “Evening Sun”, “Under Control” to name a few) and found most of the lesser known deep cuts to at least be enjoyable, but not great.

Several months of build up got me pumped to see them at Lollapalooza last year.  After The Black Keys finished their set, I just waited at the same stage for the next 90 minutes to get a good spot for The Strokes, while my friends regrettably chose to waste their time at Lady Gaga for some reason (they all bailed on her early and disappointed).  I had already been drinking heavily leading up to The Strokes, polishing off 2/3rds a water bottle of straight vodka by the time The Keys finished, and filled the empty part of the bottle with a $6 Red Bull (for added drunken energy!).  Since I was drunk and hyper (i.e. social) so I also befriended the fat hippie couple I was standing next to while I waited.  Nice people, stupid clothes.

For the price of waiting around doing basically jack shit for over an hour, I got to be like 8 or 9 people back from the stage for the show.  And it did not disappoint.  That show was the perfect level of bright flashing lights, loud noises, and refrains with shoutable lyrics, for someone who had just drank a shitload of vodka.

I was having the time of my life.  And despite the fact that by the end of the set I browned out, then got slightly lost in the city, then lost my wallet (it was later mailed back to me by some nice dude), and woke up the next morning hungover with my ears still massively ringing, it was fucking awesome.

So where does this bring me?  Oh yeah, The Strokes are totally bad ass and I was very much looking forward to this new album.  But they took something of a different approach.  Call it evolving, or progressing, or just changing, but this doesn’t sound much like their previous albums.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I found the album to be pretty decent, but I just wish it was more, I don’t know, Strokey.

1.  Macchu Picchu – I like this song a lot, and it actually sounds like a good classic Strokes song at parts, even with the electronic-esk beat.  My opinion: this is best song on the album.

2.  Under Cover of Darkness – First single.  It’s way more poppy than I’d like it to be, but not terrible, but I like The Strokes more when they are sloppy, not poppy.  I actually think this is one of the weaker songs on the album.

3.  Two Kinds of Happiness – Just alright, a little more upbeat than I wanted to hear.  Decent refrain wasn’t good enough to push it into greatness.

4.  You’re So Right – Almost good, I like the mood, but I wished it kicked into high-gear at some point.  It’s like it almost does, but then never crosses the line.

5.  Taken For a Fool – Love it.  Catchy, yet still kinda sloppy and reckless.

6.  Games – It sounds alright, but I just wish this fucking album would get a little louder already.  I’m a fan of The Strokes yelly songs, and also their quietest songs.  My least favorite songs are the ones in the middle, like this one.  I mean, this is an alright song, by itself, but not when I put it up against like any other Strokes song.

7.  Call Me Back – Speaking of quiet songs…  They seem to include one or two on each of their first three albums.  This is the entry for Angles.  It’s half amazing.  At one part seems earnest, then seems calculated right after.  It’s no “Ask Me Anything”.

8.  Gratisfaction – Holy shit, this sounds like it could have been released by Queen.  That’s not a bad thing, I suppose.  Just weird.

9.  Metabolism – There we go!  There’s the reckless abandon and slurry vocals I was hoping for!

10.  Life is Simple in the Moonlight – It’s OK, I guess.  Kinda forgettable closing song.

Overall, it’s just alright.  Two really good songs, a few more pretty good songs, and the rest are just good enough.  It’s something of a departure from their regular sound, but not in a good way like “Brothers” was for The Black Keys last year.

7.5 out of 10

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