Born Rich: An Obligatory Review

strokesroomonfire.jpgThough we’re still listening to EMF and several assorted skronk mixtapes, we knew that it would be a great disservice to the youthful upper-middle-class post-hipster community to blithely ignore the arrival of The Strokes’ second album, so we had guest reviewer Guy Cimbalo review the reviews:
The Strokes release “Room On Fire” today, affording the dubious field of rock journalism an opportunity to plow through more self-same cliches than typical coverage of how difficult Thom Yorke can be. But why slog through countless articles headlined “Different Strokes?” when low culture lets you read them all in one sitting?

The temptation to dismiss the Strokes is acknowledged:
“This poseurship is just one of the reasons it takes immense critical discipline not to hate them…” (Time)
“And, like Nirvana, the Strokes have been embraced by the designers of runway fashion, the death knell of anything sincere.” (Rolling Stone)
“… earning myself a spot on this very staff with a lengthy diatribe against the band’s hype machine, socioeconomic background, and rampant influence-pilfering.” (Pitchfork Media)
“In recent weeks, it has been difficult to walk past a newsagent without feeling a twinge of concern for the Strokes.” (The Guardian)
“They are very famous even though no one can remember which one dates Demi Moore and which one is Justin.” (Village Voice)
The temptation to dismiss the Strokes is then shelved:
“Everything that initially made some of us skeptical of the Strokes’ charms…now makes some of us susceptible.” (Village Voice)
“But when you hear the Strokes, that cultivated cool disperses with every passing guitar chord, and suddenly, just by listening, you’re cool too.” (Time)
“Of course, the Strokes don’t technically belong to a scene, because they were never even acquaintances with their compatriots.” (Rolling Stone)
“…in the process, they’ve earned the respect of many critics who initially dismissed them as a gang of riffstealing rich kids.” (Spin)
The band’s hygiene/lack-thereof is noted:
“I will see Casablancas nearly every day for the next week: His clothes and bracelets will not change, though he claims his underwear and socks do.” (Rolling Stone)
“All five members of the Strokes appear to have studiously avoided wandering under a showerhead since birth.” (Time)
“Their rumpled but mod style…” (Spin)
“…sharply dressed “dirty puppies” who were handy in a street fight.” (NME)
The Strokes’ musical debts are addressed (ordered from least to most obscure):
“…people noted that the Strokes bore a surprising similarity to Definitely Maybe-era Oasis.” (The Guardian)
“…and there’s no ignoring the influences when drummer Fabrizio Moretti bangs out a snare fill that would make the Zeppelins’ John Bonham bolt upright in his grave.” (Time)
“…lead guitarist Nick Valensi is sweating Joey Santiago something fierce here.” (Pitchfork Media)
“…instruments blitz in and out of your face with the abrupt precision of a Lee Perry dub mix.” (Rolling Stone)
“Nick Valensi puts Elliott Easton to shame—I mean, we’re in Steve Lukather, even Neil Geraldo territory here.” (Village Voice)
Followed by limp metaphors for Casablancas’ vocals:
“He is the son of model magnate John Casablancas, but a study of his DNA would probably reveal more of a family connection to Holden Caufield.” (Time)
“…it’s as if he’s singing over a broken speakerphone from a burning building. Like any good New Yorker, Casablancas is suspicious and impatient by nature.” (Rolling Stone)
“His default sigh, now slid a notch from Iggy-decadent toward Roxy-wistful…” (Village Voice)
“…sounding less like a man come to save rock with some snarling New York punk attitude than a company director fretting over the end-of-year figures.” (The Guardian)
Concluding with enigmatic mention of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”:
“Julian’s yearning, ragged vocal melody somehow evokes Sam Cooke’s civil rights anthem ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’…” (NME)
“As he tells this story, the jukebox fills the room with the strains of Sam Cooke’s soul-stirring “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and the girls gather round. All time stops for Casablancas. “When I hear ‘A Change Is Gonna Come,’ ” he says, ‘it frustrates me.'” (Rolling Stone)

2 replies on “Born Rich: An Obligatory Review”

you have an amazing way of surmising everything everyone wants to say about this album without actually saying it yourself. clearly you are fab.

Comments are closed.