WOWEE ZOWEE (43)
October 24, 2018
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the subject of our favorite albums of the Nineties (1994–2003). A new installment in this series will appear each Wednesday during 2018.
IS THIS IT| THE STROKES | 2001
What I remember most about The Strokes is the Liverpool band The Coral.
June, 2001. A full three months before the actual release of Is This It. The New York City band had just been on the cover of the NME, and were touring England as the hottest thing since Britpop.
Then the next week’s NME came out.
“The best new band in the country: it’s one sentence we never tire of writing,” Ted Kessler acknowledged. “The latest best new band in the country is The Coral.”
On assignment for SPIN, I happened to be sitting next to Julian Casablancas in a transit van as he read that, half-amused and half-bemused by this early glimpse of the UK’s build-’em-up-to-knock-’em-down hype cycle. It was a good run, kid!
Of course, the Strokes are still around (as are The Coral).
Is This It had its detractors/backlash even then, but people also stan for Room on Fire, First Impressions On Earth, or even Casablancas’ second band The Voidz. I stood in line to see the Strokes at a shitty 200-person venue at SXSW 2001 and I stood in line to see them with 25,000 people at SXSW 2011, when the band returned from a five-year absence. But for me, those six or eight (or three?) months of Strokes-mania in 2001 was enough. I’m perfectly happy to remember the Strokes as evanescent. As one-album geniuses. As, yes, the best band in the country (or the world).
Is This It was 11 perfect songs in 35 minutes (well, ten — “When It Started” is still a bummer, as is the absence of “New York City Cops”). It was sexy, dumb and gritty. It sounded like bubblegum CBGB’s and Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and even Spoon. It still sounds great from start-to-finish (see previous exception), and even better as a Pandora coffee shop/restaurant/boutique jukebox. Rock’n’roll is an affair, not a relationship.
WOWEE ZOWEE: Stephanie Burt on UNISEX | Anindita Basu Sempere on UNDER THE PINK | Mark Kingwell on DUMMY | Bill Nericcio on AMOR PROHIBIDO | Sherri Wasserman on HIPS AND MAKERS | Mimi Lipson on THANK YOU | John Overholt on BEN FOLDS FIVE | Jordan Ellenberg on GET LOST | Chelsey Johnson on PERSONAL BEST | Marilyn Snell on MAXINQUAYE | Dan Fox on DIFFERENT CLASS | Devin McKinney on IF YOU’RE FEELING SINISTER | Alice Boone on MTV UNPLUGGED (ALICE IN CHAINS) | Rob Wringham on SPICE | Joe Alterio on BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE | Jason Loeffler on SECOND TOUGHEST IN THE INFANTS | Rick Pinchera on EITHER/OR | Josh Glenn on THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST | Jennifer Krasinski on SUPA DUPA FLY | Sara Ryan on DIG ME OUT | Luc Sante on MEZZANINE | Molly Wright Steenson on I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE | Franklin Bruno on ENGLAND MADE ME | Michael Campochiaro on IS THIS DESIRE? | Adrienne Crew on CALIFORNICATION | Drew Daniel on I SEE A DARKNESS | Veda Hille on THE SOFT BULLETIN | Vanessa Berry on TEENAGE SNUFF FILM | Tom Kipp on GET SKINTIGHT | David Hirmes on DOPETHRONE | John Hilgart on YORK BLVD. | Deborah Wassertzug on JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT | Adam McGovern on INVINCIBLE SUMMER | Brian Berger on TIRED SOUNDS OF… | Michael Grasso on MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN | Jen Collins on HURRAH | Flourish Klink on THE TEACHES OF PEACHES | Judith Zissman on TALLAHASSEE | Lauren Oliver on SOUND-DUST | Jason Cohen on IS THIS IT | Matthew De Abaitua on THE RAINBOW CHILDREN | Jenny Davidson on TIME (THE REVELATOR) | Crystal Durant on LIVE THROUGH THIS | Gordon Dahlquist on GARBAGE | Erin M. Routson on WASHING MACHINE | Carl Wilson on TEMPTING | Jessamyn West on ALL HAIL WEST TEXAS | Kaleb Horton on STREETCORE | Tom Nealon on BAZOOKA TOOTH | Erik Davis on DOPESMOKER | David Levine on FEVER TO TELL | Deb Chachra on MASS ROMANTIC.
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