Home Read Classic Album Review: The Strokes | Is This It

Classic Album Review: The Strokes | Is This It

The N.Y.C. rockers become the underground's It Boys with their flawless debut.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


You might see two different versions of this CD in stores — a domestic pressing with a psychedelic colour cover and an import with an erotic black-and-white photo. Aside from the G-rated artwork, the domestic edition also has one different song: The N.Y.C. indie-rockers pulled the song New York City Cops (“they ain’t too smart”) after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

But no matter which version of Is This It you choose, it’s easy to see why The Strokes are the underground’s new It Boys. On these 11 songs, The Strokes condense the edgy angularity of Television, the garage-rock grit of The Stooges and the squalid decadence of The Velvet Underground into their own unique brand of noisy pop-rock: A churning, choppy blast of pounding primitivism, fuzzed-out distortion, irresistible melodies and gritty vocals from Julian Casablancas (son of modelling kingpin John). It’s all so perfect it could almost qualify as a stroke of genius.