Thursday, February 21, 2013
50 GREAT ALBUMS IN MY 50th YEAR (Part 14)
I'm 38 years of age. I'm sure I heard it all before. There's just no way I'm ever going to get overly-excited by a group of young men playing guitars and singing about life as an early-20 something. Especially when it's going to be from an American point of view that I just won't be able to relate to.
That was until I actually listened to The Strokes.
Hyped beyond belief by what remained of the UK music press, I was certain this would be another fad that would quickly come and go. Rough and ready guitar music really had no place in the shiny new post-millennium era. Looking back was not the way forward.
I honestly can't remember when I first heard them. I doubt it was on the radio as I had more or less given up on that medium by then. I'm guessing it would have been on MTV....I had not long finally against my better judgement invested in a satellite dish, mainly to keep up with all the sport that was no longer on free-to-air terrestrial telly. There were only a handful of music channels at the time, but one of them was MTV2 which was geared towards the indie/metal genres with a fine mix of the old and the new. But anyways, the single Hard To Explain really made me sit up and take notice.
It was a throwback to the 80s but in a way that managed to sound fresh. It was a mix of the best of the British guitar bands with their American counterparts. It was infectiously catchy and danceable. But maybe it was just a one-off I thought to myself....
A few weeks later the debut LP came out. The critical reviews were unanimously fawning. By now, MTV was airing other footage and songs beyond the debut single....it all sounded tremendous. And hey.... there was the bonus of Mrs Villain loving them as well....especially after she saw them on screen and decided there and then she wanted to shag them all despite being old enough to be their mum...
The LP was everything I hoped for and more. Not too long after, we caught them live a wee bit down the bill at an outdoor festival in Glasgow and they put on a cracking show in circumstances where not all that many folk were there to see them. Not long afterwards they came back to the city to play the famous Barrowlands. It turned out to be a very fine and sweaty night with the band showing there was no studio trickery involved as they belted out every song they had recorded up to that point. OK, it made for one of the shortest head-lining sets I've ever been at, but rather than than they padded things out with meaningless noodling/solos or disappointing cover versions.
Is This It is one of the best indie/pop guitar albums ever recorded. It's one of the finest debut LPs ever recorded. It is very worthy of a place in this rundown:-
mp3 : The Strokes - Is This It
mp3 : The Strokes - The Modern Age
mp3 : The Strokes - Last Nite
Quick reminder, in alphabetical order, of the LPs featured so far:-
All Mod Cons - The Jam
Back in the D.H.S.S. - Half Man Half Biscuit
Different Class - Pulp
Don't Try This At Home - Billy Bragg
Dummy - Portishead
High Land, Hard Rain - Aztec Camera
Is This It - The Strokes
Songs To Remember - Scritti Politti
Soul Mining - The The
Strangeways Here We Come - The Smiths
The Bends - Radiohead
Tindersticks - Tindersticks
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Will I Ever Be Inside Of You - Paul Quinn & the Independent Group