Updated: Feb 23
The Strokes finally won a Grammy after twenty years of producing rock & roll music, when people thought it was dead. The New Abnormal came out in 2020, seven years after the release of their last album and I honestly think it was worth the wait. Many people consider The Strokes to be the fathers of modern indie music and I won’t say they’re totally wrong. They experimented with different genres and branched out into new wave, semi-psychedelic and post-punk sounds that brought it less commercial success. However, the new album did a place among all these genres.
1) The adults are talking:
The opening track "The Adults Are Talking" presents an ideal Strokes in 2020: Fab Moretti’s strumming drums, Nikolai Fraiture’s cruising bassline, duelling guitars from Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr., and the unquestionable trendy croon of Julian Casablancas. It's a conscious return to the times of Is This It and Room on Fire and it shows the natural evolution of the group.
This can easily be considered a love ballad of sorts. The atmosphere of grief and longing is prominent throughout the song with lyrics like, “Please don’t be long, because I want your love” and “Bite my tongue, I wait my turn.” The song also features heavy guitar and bass which makes you want to listen to it on a loop, because we can relate to it on some primary level.
3) Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus:
This was the first single they dropped from the upcoming album that caught my attention and my ears totally picked up on it probably because they had a very 80s like theme going on with a catchy tune and a memorable chorus of “I want new friends / but they don’t want me.”
4) Bad decisions:
The verses appear to discuss the battles and the confusion within oneself of respecting somebody and being irritated with them simultaneously, along these lines "making bad decisions with you.” This can be seen as the blinding impacts love has on an individual. Casablanca’s voice is of course very staticky in this song, which might start to make you wonder about your bad decisions;)
5) Eternal Summer:
This one is the longest track on the album and the slow-paced drums makes you feel like it’s a hot, sunny afternoon which seems to be passing by very slowly and you have nothing better to do, than lying on the bed. Here summer is an eternal power, that makes everybody included attend to the impacts it has.
6) At the door:
This might sound quite different from most of the Strokes’ songs. Its absent from a drum and a bass beat and the music gets its pulse from rhythmic synth tones and very minimal guitar chords. “What you runnin’ for?” Casablancas asks the audience convincingly like a cheesy lounge singer. “My thoughts — such a mess,” he sings, in a glad-to-be-unhappy moan. “Like a little boy.”
7) Why are Sundays so depressing?
Here, he sings about the heartache of not encountering his existence with somebody you love. His starting verses appear very negating, on the grounds that he sings of individuals not missing one another, yet the remainder of the verses appear to mean the opposite. This song makes us believe that they still have a rock side and shows us perfectly by blending shifting style and close-up guitars.
8) Not the same anymore:
Sounds like a purely nostalgic song, Not the same anymore is about the lyricist’s past actions and how they have influenced his relationships. He takes it all on himself, blaming it on himself for his inability to change. The ending of the song is an instrumental outro with a soft drum beat in the background and the faint sounds of a bass and church-like synths.
9) Ode to the Mets:
What I loved about the last track of the album is how Julian reflects his band’s career in the New York City, where they grew up together, formed the Strokes and reached great heights in their musical journey. The song is chilly and dreary with quiet guitars and strong instrumentation. Also, if you notice, the song begins with the same tune, the on the album’s opening tracks, denoting the beginning and the end of the “journey”. IMO, this is quite an appropriate song to end their album.
The New Abnormal shows The Strokes reluctant to recreate their past, yet comparatively declining to make a profound plunge into a new future, making a remarkable ground they had been battling to discover for such a long time. It's an accomplishment that appears to be both well-deserved and easy, perhaps their first with such an inclination since Room on Fire. It may not hit as hard similar to Is This It, yet The New Abnormal hits a sweet spot, and leaves the wide totally open for another extraordinary album.