Celebrating The Strokes Is This It 10 years on

Ten years ago this weekend (July 30th) Is This It was officially released in Australia (it followed later in the UK and US), the media and fans of the band have been celebrating the record which fundamentally altered the landscape of guitar music at the time.

A Love Letter to Is This It – An excellent piece by an long-term fan.

Stereogum Presents… STROKED: A Tribute To Is This It. A somewhat mixed bag of cover versions by artists such as Peter Bjorn and John and Owen Pallet. Some are pretty good, some I would rather not hear again. My favourite is the lovely dreamy version of Barely Legal by Real Estate. Avoid NYCC at all costs.  Julian’s calls the covers ‘rad’

The Strokes Ten Years On – Their first NME Feature

Why I Love Is This It by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys

The Strokes Fan Twitter is running a competition to win a copy of Is This It on vinyl. Some really great entries from fans.

Ten Years On: The Making Of The Strokes ‘Is This It by Gigwise

BBC 6 Music are building a playlist around The Strokes, help them pick songs

Is This It: Some Rambling Thoughts

Though the 10 year anniversary is tomorrow the actual first time I heard the record in full and not live was on its UK release date (27 August 2001) after coming home from Reading festival and grabbing a copy of the album at Paddington Station. Overall my memory is poor but when it comes to remembering music I can recall vivid details like it was yesterday (and I mean really I can’t believe its been ten years, where has the time gone?)

None of the songs were new to me having worn out my Modern Age EP and Hard To Explain single as well as seeing the band live only a few days previously but everything still felt fresh and different hearing it as a complete work and in the right order.

Yes the correct order, because I think in this age of MP3s sometimes we tend to listen to albums on shuffle which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but Is This It is a good example of how sometimes the tracklisting order of a record can be perfect.

I’m not entirely sure the last time I heard Is This It in full as it was intended so whilst writing this entry I did just that. As perfect as ever.

Rather than talk about the importance of the band to me personally which I have done many times or their impact on music which has been discussed as well I’m simply going to listen to the album and talk about the songs.

Is This It

I can’t think ’cause I’m just way too tired

I still think starting the album with a ‘slow’ number is a brave choice and not what you expect but what I’ve always loved about the band is their ability to slow it down when needed. There is such a vulnerability in Julian’s voice especially in the opening verse. Its actually a beautiful song, something about the bassline always makes me feel incredibly sad I can’t explain it really.

Watch: Is This It Live on Mad TV, Julian looking as nonchalant as he sounds in the song

The Modern Age

Oh, in the sun, sun having fun

Being the first Strokes song I heard I always have a great love for this song I mean really its perfect in every way the drums, that god damn guitar solo which still gives me chills and sends me into a fit of dancing. The way Julian sings ‘Darling let me g-g-g-g-g-g-go‘. Like so many songs by the band it evokes a feeling of nostalgia, like surely this song was written in the 70s and yet it feels oddly modern as well.

Watch: The Modern Age live (MTV’s $2 Bill), that fucking guitar solo and then Julian falls to his knees. Yeah!


I’ve been doing this 25 years….

Underrated song alert. Seriously it feels like a lifetime since the band played this song live but its so good. I specially love the intensity of the last verse.

Watch: Soma live at Radio City Music Hall 

Barely Legal

Like my sister, don’t give a fuck

I’ve always thought this song summed up The Strokes don’t give a fuck attitude perfectly.

Watch: Barely Legal live at Columbia Hall, Berlin 


When we was young, oh man, did we have fun

Perfect summer song. Seriously every time I hear this I get transported back to the summer of 2001 and 2002 and everything feels splendid.

Watch: Someday on Letterman“Happy Thanksgiving y’all” timely holiday greeting from Julian ha

Alone, Together

He knows it’s justified to kill to survive

This always felt like a kind of dark moody song like yeah an undercurrent of darkness and yeah I’m always going on about solos but my god seriously just listen to it!

Watch: Alone, Together Live (MTV’s $2 Bill)  Nick and Albert completely lose their shit, brilliant (Nick’s bendy legs! Albert’s face!)

Last Nite

Well, I’ve been in town for just about fifteen minutes now

Ok for a while after this song was officially played to death on the TV and by radio I grew a little bored of it and would skip it but then maybe about 4 years back I was listening to it for the first time in like ages and all the original hysteria I felt when I first heard it came flooding back. It’s not their best song but its a damn perfect piece of pop, everything a single should be.

Watch: Last Nite promo video because frankly its still so amazing all these years on.

Hard To Explain

I try but you see, it’s hard to explain

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Fab’s drum machine drumming at the beginning of this song? Awesome right, yeah fucking awesome. Then lets take a moment to appreciate every fucking second of the song because Hard To Explain probably tops many fans favourite song poll and you can see why. Then there is of course the brilliant fake ending.

Watch: Hard To Explain on Leno 

New York City Cops

They act like Romans, but they dress like Turks

Fact every time I see this song live I usually end up injuring myself. I freak out so much to it. It’s like I can’t even describe how I feel when I listen to this song other than completely manic. I love how the guys fuck with the feedback when they play it live.

Watch: New York City Cops on TOTP

Trying Your Luck

And I lost my page. Again.

I think when I first heard this song something instantly clicked with me, I realised Julian wasn’t a songwriter content to sing about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, he had this melancholic side to his writing. I am rambling here by the way but like Is This It there is a strange beauty about Trying Your Luck.

Watch: Trying Your Luck live (MTV’s $2 Bill)

Take It Or Leave It

He’s gonna steal your friends if he can

Such a bittersweet song for me because its amazing but it always signals the end of a Strokes show so in one way you want to hear it but then of course you never want the moment to end.

Watch: Take It Or Leave It on Letterman, fact this is their greatest TV performance ever.

Poll time

This is all for fun, and like a parent picking their favourite child every song on Is This It is naturally amazing. Poll will stay open until the end of August when Is This It has its 10th UK release birthday

So if you do one thing this weekend take 36 minutes and 29 seconds to sit down and listen to the album that influenced a hundred bands, shaped the minds of thousands of music fans and allowed us all to remember music doesn’t have to be dull and that 5 skinny kids from NYC dressed in battered leather jackets and Coverse can make a difference.