March 22, 2011

Music Review: Angles by The Strokes

The Strokes, famous for their amazing debut album, Is This It?, and an equally stunning sophomore album, Room on Fire, broke up after the third album First Impressions of Earth. Apparently that one was a dud.

It seems that with this newly put-together band, everyone has their two cents to contribute when it comes to discussing Angles. Since last year, I've been in love with The Strokes, so naturally I've been stoked for their new release.

A large part of the reason that The Strokes broke up was that Julian Casablancas, the singer and frontman, made the other band mates feel as if they were apart of a creative dictatorship. It makes sense that now they all have a hand in writing the music and lyrics, right? Of course, because of this, the sound would get more experimental. Well, that 's good, right?

Well, not exactly.

It seems that that Strokes sound is all Casablancas--Angles lost it, with it reappearing only in "Under Cover of Darkness." The Strokes Sound has been transformed--I loved the sound! Unlike quite a few critics, though, I don't think this album is miserable.

Among the new songs, there are a few gems.

  • "Machu Piccu"--definitely different than all their previous songs--is wonderful! With great buildups and guitars, and with Casablancas' one-of-a-kind voice, you won't be able to stop yourself from singing along.
  • "Two Kinds of Happiness" gets experimental, but is undoubtedly one of the best songs. It has epic guitar solos, that semi singing-in-the-background sound we Strokes Lovers have come to adore, and not-quite-heavy drums.
  • "You're So Right" has me screaming "This is all so wrong!" Casablancas' voice is flat, the song gets boring, and the techno destroys everything from the singing to the drums. I'm listening to each song as I write about it, and this one is giving me a headache and my face is scrunched up in disgust. This song is a demerit on the Strokes' record. I must finish this paragraph so that I may change the song.
  • "Taken For a Fool" is my favorite song on this album. It's taken me a full minute to write this sentence because I keep breaking into dance. I love the guitars, lyrics, and singing. It's not The Strokes Sound, but it's still amazing. It's not super dance-y, like the crap on the radio, but it's one of the faster tracks. I can't think of anything to dislike about this song. It's exciting, it builds up and then lets loose with some great guitar, and--ok, can you please just trust me on this one and allow me to spend the rest of the song singing and dancing? Thank you.
  • "Games" isn't remarkable, but it's not bad. It doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the album. It can get bland at moments, but the chorus is good. This one has a slight techno tilt to it. I do love it, though, as Casablancas sings, "One more daaaaay / One more niiiiiiight." It actually makes you feel something, as apposed to the rest of the song, where's I feel more or less like, "Okay, write about this song, then I'll just skip to the next."
  • "Call Me Back" is the slow track of the album. This drumless song, the silence filled with a loud keyboard and an only slightly repetitive guitar, makes you sway. What my problem is, though, is that you start to anticipate this huge buildup where you expect they'll burst out with a loud guitar, and Casablancas will start sing-yelling the lyrics like he does so well. But all we get is a slightly faster guitar, and then we're left feeling unfulfilled.
  • "Gratisfaction" is happy, upbeat, and light. Some say it borders on "silly," but I don't mind. It's reminiscent of 80s rock--I feel like I should be snapping my fingers to this track. This one actually does stand out from some of the album. I never expected a song like this from The Strokes; it's so different from their music up until now. Well, I suppose that's what happens when five people are writing a song rather than just one.
  • "Metabolism" sounds an awful lot like "You're So Right," and I use the word awful for a reason. It sounds like "You're So Right," with the techno toned down, thankfully. "Metabolism" isn't too bad, but it's got the overpowering guitar and the boring sound. As certain times, the music will get loud, but the problem is that the guitar plays the same chord for the entire few seconds that it lasts.
  • "Life Is Simple In The Moonlight" is good. It starts out slow, then the drums lead us into a louder, slightly faster part of the song, with Casablancas singing with emotion that gets you on your feet. This cycle repeats a couple times, but never fails to keep you entertained. I am in love with the guitars on this one. I really like this song, and I wish I knew the lyrics to sing along with it.
This albums doesn't exactly meet expectations, but it's a transformed band--the music is transformed as well. I miss the classic Strokes Sound, but I don't think they've completely done away with it. I'm hopeful for their next project, and until then, I'll be rocking out to Angles--even if I must skip over a couple.

7.8 Stars out of 10!

Your Strokes-Lover,

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