The Strokes, “The New Abnormal”, Album Review

Picking up where they left off exactly seven years ago, The Strokes return, and they finally sound like themselves again. With album number six, the band reassure fans that while they’re not the same band that everyone fell in love with, they’re now wiser, more aware, and having fun with the satisfaction of having a good time on their own terms. In nine songs, The Strokes new album, The New Abnormal, resorts to familiar territories but still remaining new and improved. Avoiding the pressures of meeting expectations, the album is centered around what the band wants to be satisfied with and they want fans to be ok with that.

Introspecting on the desires of the past, the band hints at strictly reminiscing of the glory days. On the song, Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus, the question “And the ’80’s song, yeah how did it go…and the ’80s bands, where did they go?" is the focus point that makes sense of what the band wanted to attempt with the album. Deeply influenced by the culture of the 1980s, The Strokes have drawn on being the token indie-rock band that gave fans of the genre a sense of hope that the spirit of rock and roll' remains alive and well. Though, Is This It the band’s classic debut album remains their most complete, it accomplished the trajectory of allowing them to release the standard indie-rock album and then eventually abandoning the style of what made them once so great. Eventually as the band experimented, the aftertaste seemed a bit sour. As they continuously branched out and Julian Casablancas explored a different side of him, The Strokes held the responsibility of finally coming together once again and to bridge the gap of what they’ve learned and what they already know.

The New Abnormal is centered around the past seven years, a homecoming for the band. With the assist from Rick Rubin, the album is a revival of what made them great in the first place. The singles, At The Door and Bad Decisions are informative introductions to the new era into a new decade. A new era for humanity, but also a new era for the band. Representing a desire to hit the rewind button, the band avoids doing so. Instead they formulate a game-plan to create a calculated experiment that blends the consistency of their early records with the observations of new experiences. Not The Same Anymore is a cutting-edge somber reflection of the scenes of Julian’s past life. Such topics were hinted on the simple guitar and synthesizer heavy, Why Are Sundays So Depressing. Julian continues to reflect, as he looks back at a life before the rock and roll lifestyle that built up the transition to the themes on Not The Same Anymore.

As one door closes, another one opens. The melancholic finale, Ode to the Mets is a curtain call on the history of the band. Julian Casablancas takes a bow on behalf of the band as he pays homage to not only the career of The Strokes, but also to fulfill the satisfaction of penning a song to New York City and the New York Mets. Brilliantly closing the album, the song pieces together what the band wanted to accomplish with this album. The New Abnormal is everything but abnormal, but instead it’s the new normal for a revived band that is celebrating their return to glory.

 

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