What a massively addicting album this is! From the masterstroke of an opener in “Machu Picchu,” which is personally my favorite track of 2011 so far, to the Cornel West namedrop in “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight.” Yes, Is This It? was THE album that reinvigorated an apathetic rock scene early last decade. And it was an album that cannot be disputed as an all-time great. Fortunately, The Strokes topped themselves with 2003’s Room on Fire, which I contend is their best.
With their fourth album, Angles, the band releases their most diverse album to date. In a sense, they have reinvented their sound and challenged themselves to progress their amazingly successful formula. Of course, you still have that classic Strokes sound in tracks like “Under Cover Of Darkness” and “Taken For A Fool.” But I’m a bit disappointed by all the fans who are instantly dismissing so much of this album. “You’re So Right” has been labeled a “throw away” in many reviews and by fans on social networks. The track is refreshingly unique and comprises elements the band has yet to explore. I’m reminded of Radiohead when listening to the glitchy percussion and late screeching guitars. Julian Casablancas never ceases to amaze me with his ability to deliver vocals with a unique approach on each track, which is exemplified on “You’re So Right.” It may be an unpopular declaration, but it’s a standout for me on Angles.
Angles is not an album that I needed repeated listens to appreciate. The 80s vibe of “Two Kinds of Happiness” and “Games” and the Steely Dan homage on “Gratisfaction” had me instantly hooked. It’s a shame that many reviews of the album focus on the struggles the band had during recording sessions. Some even admit that you hear a separation in Julian’s vocals and the rest of the band. Let’s write about the music, ya’ll! I revisit the discography more often than I’d like to admit, but Angles is my favorite album of 2011. Hipsters, you may resume your head bob.