New York City & The Strokes
“I just want to misbehave
I just want to be your slave
Oh, you ain’t never had nothing I wanted
But I want it all
I just can’t figure out…
– The Strokes, “Barely Legal”
I’m currently on an East Coast tour with Gold Motel, and today we rolled into New York City. I’ve never been to New York City before, and I feel fortunate to visit it for the first time while on tour with a band. Few things feel better than visiting a foreign place with the sole purpose of playing music.
Although I’ve only been here a few hours, I have already felt an energetic pulse thriving through the city. Some of my favorite musicians, poets, filmmakers, and artists all hail from New York, and I feel like the works they produced are all products of living in New York, and the lifestyle that goes along with living here. The city has a way of seeping into notes, brush strokes, and rhyme schemes.
So with that said, I have to take this opportunity to pay a bit of homage to not only one of my favorite New York bands, but one of my favorite bands of all time: The Strokes. When I think of The Strokes, I automatically think of New York City, and vice versa. The city is inherently in the album, and in some ways I almost view it as an ode to being young and reckless in New York City. Although “Is This It” is approaching it’s 10 year anniversary, the album still sounds as fresh and energetic as the first time I heard it.
I have listened to “Is This It” front to back hundreds and hundreds of times, and I still can’t get enough of it. I grew up with that album, and it was as big a part of my youth as my family and friends were. It’s influence on me is tremendous, and I hope to gain an even greater insight into the album as I spend time in New York.
Although The Strokes seem to be in a state of confusion as of recently, their future is almost inconsequential to their past. They wrote incredible pop songs disguised as gritty, urban rock ‘n roll music and in the process set a new standard for what a modern rock ‘n roll band should look and sound like. Despite what happens in the future, “Is This It” will always be there.
In the same way that Frank O’Hara’s poetry captured bohemian life in New York City in the fifties, and The Velvet Underground captured the New York art scene in the sixties, I view “Is This It” as a permanent time capsule of New York City in the beginning of the 21st century. And now I’m going to stop writing about The Strokes and go walk around and explore a bit. Till next time…