It's hard to believe that it's almost twenty years since The Strokes released their debut album, but that also means that they now have a lot of songs in the back catalogue.
The New Yorkers released their sixth album, the aptly-titled 'The New Abnormal', last week – so now's the perfect time for a reappraisal of their best songs.
In no particular order....
Alright, we know we literally just said 'in no particular order', but this is the best Strokes song, hands down. And we'll fight anyone who says otherwise. That guitar riff, Julian Casablancas' drawl, the way the song builds, instrument by instrument: it's just superb.
2. HARD TO EXPLAIN
Like many people, this was the first Strokes song that we ever heard – and we still remember exactly where we were. They sounded like a 1960s rock band transplanted to 2001. This song still holds up, almost two decades later.
3. UNDER CONTROL
Their second album 'Room on Fire' is choc-full of upbeat indie-rock 'n' roll songs, but this slinky little number near the end of the album slows the pace down brilliantly.
That bassline, man! The thrill of it all! One of The Strokes' greatest strengths has been their originality; they may wear their influences brazenly, but they still manage to come up with hooks and melodies unlike any other band. This is such a great song.
5. LAST NITE
If you've ever been to an indie disco, you'll be well aware that this song is a staple. And it will remain a staple for decades, too. For music fans of a certain generation, this song will forever be entwined with dancing in Whelan's at 2am on a Saturday night. (Just us, then?)
6. THE END HAS NO END
Another track from 'Room on Fire', this is one of those underrated toe-tappy tunes with arguably one of the best intros to any Strokes songs. When they loosened their collars and allowed a poppier sound to seep into their songwriting, it resulted in gems like this.
Like 'Hard to Explain' and 'Last Nite', it's songs like this that have made 'Is This It' an era-defining album. It sounds like such a simple formula: jangly guitars, midtempo beat, simple melody – but there's an indefinable magic to 'Someday'.
8. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
The opening track of 'First Impressions of Earth' is this brilliant song – bouncy, jangly indiepop with a sneer. Again, those guitars, that melody – so simple, yet so effective.
9. UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS
The lead single from their fourth album 'Angles' harkened back to their debut 'Is This It'; scrappy indie-rock that's been refined by a pop melody, it's arguably one of The Strokes' most infuriatingly enjoyable earworms.
Yeah, it's another song from 'Room on Fire' – the Strokes album that we've probably returned to most over the years. That's probably because we reckon it's their most consistent album: the sound of a band who have steadied themselves after their massive debut and said 'Right – let's make it better.' This is such a considered indie-pop song that plays around with texture and effects, proving that they're more than just a Velvet Underground covers band.