Is This It Review

artist: The Strokes date: 06/06/2005 category: compact discs
The Strokes: Is This It
Released: Jul 30, 2001
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: RCA, Rough Trade
Number Of Tracks: 11
"Is This It" is the debut studio album by American rock band The Strokes.
 Sound: 9.9
 Lyrics: 8.1
 Overall Impression: 9.4
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (7) 9 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Is This It Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 06, 2005
5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: After spinning this disc for what seems like hundreds of hours, it's time to finally share my opinions of it. The Strokes are basically the stripped down rock and roll sound of the '60s and '70s. Don't expect fancy space age sounds or tons of computer editing on this disc. It's rock and roll; each and every song on the disc can be played live with a drummer, 2 guitarists, and a bassist. Having said that, the Strokes are very, very good at what they do and Is This It showcases it. Nick and Albert's guitar parts intermingle to produce an exciting, and at times frantic sound. Nikolai holds it down on bass, though never really does anything too exciting. Fab's drums are always on spot, although shares qualities with Nikolai's bass playing. Julian Casablancas' voice is probably the least important part of the equation, but I can't imagine anything but his crooning, slightly "dirty" vocals on the tracks.

Each song has its great moments, and each track on the CD is great in it's own right. This is not a disc where there are 2 good songs with 10 bad ones to accompany it. I would have liked to see New York City Cops on the US release instead of When It Happened, but it doesn't bother me that much. The guitar work is definitely what separates the Strokes from other bands. High points include Alone Together, Soma, Hard To Explain, and Tryin Your Luck. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics aren't anything that will change the way you think about life, but for the most part are extremely catchy and well done. Stories about broken relationships, dating girls who are barely legal, the good old days, and even the a random cunnilingus reference in Alone, Together ('Lisa said take time for me/Dropping him down to his knees') all make their appearance. The words always fit the music. Julian Casablancas holds down his end of the band by producing low key, non-intrusive melodies to compliment the guitarists. I really would have liked to hear Julian's voice without any of the slight distortion, but I guess that helps put the actual band in perspective. It's not Julian and the Strokes, it's the Strokes. Makes for a good live show. High points include Soma, Tryin Your Luck, and Is This It. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, this is a disc that everyone should have in their collection. Whether it's just enjoying Last Night and the airtime it got on the radio back in 2001, taking part in the rock and roll "revival" ignighted by the band, or wanting to learn all of the simple but cool guitar parts of the songs there is something for everyone in Is This It (barring die hard metal fans, and I could even see them making an exception for a few songs). The Strokes have done what so many other bands have tried to do: make catchy songs with instrumental work that takes more than a pulse to do that are simple but great at the same time. It's kind of like the old saying goes, "Less is more." // 10

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overall: 9.3
Is This It Reviewed by: Troy Simple, on march 17, 2004
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Is This It? For the Strokes it very well may be it. Critically this was one of the most hyped up bands and albums since probably Nirvana. Did they live up to the hype. Yes. This is just good old back to the basics Garage Rock and Roll. The early Velvet Underground comparisons are visable but the Strokes clearly have a great taste in music and although they were compared to the VU off the bat I here more Telivision, Stooges, Clash, and Guided By Voices in their music. From start to finish "Is This It" is a great record - especially while cruising late at night in your car. Or possibly high if your into that. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrically good from start to finish. Most of the songs are about relationships and at times you can tell that Julian has the potential to be a really good lyricist. The driving melodies and hooks are what really drives this record though - the hooks on "Barely Legal" and "The Modern Age" are some of the best I've heard in a long while. // 8

Overall Impression: It's been a long ride, but with the late 2001 and into 2002 invasion of the so - called "the" bands I think rock officially is improving for the first time in 7 years or so. Although none of the bands really made a huge dent in the mainstream, they are (White Stripes and Strokes) currently leading Alternative music into smoother waters again. Now will the Vines and Hives follow up albums be able to sustain their first albums like the Stripes and Strokes were able to do? // 10

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overall: 10
Is This It Reviewed by: strokes4ever, on may 14, 2007
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Obviously you can tell from my user name I love the strokes; and this is the album that got me interested in them, this album is one of the if not the best album iv ever listened to. This was the album that brought The Strokes into the mainstream and it's easy to see why. From start to finish the riffs are really catchy and original, somebody said to me they sound a lot like the band called "Television" and I listened to that band, but am still adament the riffs and sounds here are completely their own. Admittedly some of the music is very easy to play, some not so easy, but all sounds brilliant. Nick and Albert work brilliantly together to come up with the type of music that stays in your head for days. Best examples of this being "The Modern Age" and "Barely Leagal." // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics blend in with the music perfectly but at first Julian's voice made it hard to work out what some of the lyrics but, however random they can be at times, it doesnt't sound like Jules is telling a story, more of a here we go or this is what happend to me if you give a shit. I love his lazy style, his voice is definately unique, cheery and very honest, what you see is what you get. Brilliant. // 10

Overall Impression: Well this was the first and in my mind is the best album. Mainly because the style is fresh and full of hope. This album always gets me going I feel it could be the soundtrack to my life, it's lazy yet active. I like every song on this album and I'd say the first 8 songs are of equally high standard which is what makes this album so great, of them most famous being "Last Nite". There are a couple of songs off later albums perhaps better than any song on this album. But as one piece of work this album is pure genius for me. I would buy this album over and over as it was definately worth what a paid. I think this record is stone cold evidence of the brilliant writing and playing talents of the strokes and has proven them to be one of, if not the best band in the world at the moment. In my opinion anyway! // 10

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overall: 10
Is This It Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 15, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I've been listening to the old album, Is This It, from The Stokes, for a while now. I thought that I would get to know the album really well before I made a comment. I'm only 15, but I think I've gotten to know The Strokes pretty well. First of all, I know their sound. The drums are usually kind of a jazz, with a loose high hat or a ping ride sound, a clean bounding bass drum, and usually a tight headed snare drum. That all fits in very well with the bass guitar. The bass sound from the strokes is usually a very demanding or loud sound, but it is at the same time very clean, it wont shake the plastic on your car like a hives album. It is usually a true toned bass. There are 2 regular guitars in the strokes. One guitar, usually the 'back up guitar' is guite a bit softer than the lead guitar, yet still audible enough hear the rythem. Its a very grainy sounding guitar, like an old hollow body or something. And it usually plays kind of like jazz or old rock rythems in most of the songs. The other guitar, is louder and much cleaner, a solid tone compared to the 'backup'. Solos are usually played by the cleaner guitar, and resemble old 60's kinds of solos. The Strokes play the kind of solos that you want to hear. and the singing, also ties in perfectly with it all. the distorted low kind of voice youd expect from a blues singer (doesn't really sound blues tho) and the high pitched note thats always in key. Julians voice is also not overpowering the band, I've noticed a lot of bands do that, I think it sounds better softer. o and one other thing, I noticed that the strokes write songs that they can play live. I think its bulls hit that some bands cant even play their own songs. // 10

Lyrics: I love the lyrics to this album, julian casablancas is a genius. They're lyrics that make sence if you listen to them. They resemble a real new york touch to them I think. The singer is also very good at improving his lyrics, I heard the recorded version of one song, and the live of the same song, and he changes a lot of vocal veriations live, while still fitting in with the song well. // 10

Overall Impression: I think that the strokes' is this it, is the best debut album in a very long time. I like all the songs, but id have to say my favorite is trying your luck, its the best sounding song on the album. and I can guess that they spent extra time on that one. // 10

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overall: 8.7
Is This It Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 16, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Some people say that all strokes songs sound alike, and that may be true at first listen. They generally sound the same the first few times you hear them, you have to really get into the songs to actually see a difference. The sound is so unique, you can always hear every instrument, every band member knows when and when not to play. Almost all the guitar in it has a different style, and each style is so very original. I would describe the music as very evolved, the two guitars go together perfectly, the bass is never doing the same thing ass the guitar, and the drums are different from most other rock today. Julian's voice is covered with fuzz, all this runs together to make beautiful music. // 10

Lyrics: The Strokes are not a band emphasized on singing. While Julian may be talented, he does not show it at all. I would say the singing/lyrics are the one fault in the Strokes. His lyrics are over-repetitive at times, but then again, the Strokes concentrate on the instrumentals more. His voice, however, goes perfectly with the style they play. // 7

Overall Impression: This album has songs that are easily more talented than most mianstream rock today. You can really tell the Strokes put in alot of work for this album. The best songs (in my opinion) are "Is This It," "Last Nite," and "Hard To Explain." I just love how all the instruments are doing their own very different things but still sounding good together. Overall I think it is the Strokes best. // 9

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overall: 7.7
Is This It Reviewed by: daftandroid, on january 16, 2007
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Strokes' impressive debut 'Is This It?' was so overly hyped that I had to listen to it a second time to try and find any flaws in it, because I didn't want to like it. After thousands upon thousands of plays, this NY band's debut never cease to amaze me. With the lo-fi production Graham Coxon could only dream of producing, Albert Hammond Jr.'s soulful guitar solos, and Julian Casablacas' 'droned and stoned' vocals, The Strokes fit the mold for a solid garage band. Standout tracks include, well, all of 'em, really, with the exception of the title track, which isn't all that bad actually. I'm not a slow song guy, and that's exactly what 'Is This It' was; a slow rocker. It's perhaps the only song I skip on the album. 'Alone, Together' is a personal favorite, especially the chorus where Julian moans, "Things, they have changed, in such a permanent way'. I also enjoy 'Last Nite', which is somewhat of a throwback to the '60s (But really, what isn't these days). 'Barely Legal' and 'This Modern Age' are also great tracks as well. // 9

Lyrics: Let's put it this way; Julian is not a poet at heart. His is more of a 'cut and paste' theory; to me, none of the songs really made much sense, figuratively. Maybe if I smoked a few, I'd start to understand what he's rambling about, but I've never smoked in my entire life and not planning on, either. I can't say much about the lyrics besides the fact that I didn't find them meaningful. Eh, maybe that'll change. As for his voice, I think it's incredible for this type of music. He's got lots of potential, though. That'll show up soon on First Impressions of Earth. // 6

Overall Impression: The only band I can compare The Strokes to is Nirvana, not musically but more so the way that they act. Julian and Kurt are very similar, although I hope that Julian doesn't end up like poor Kurt. I think that 'Last Nite' and 'Alone, Together' are radio-friendly, catchy tunes that people all over will listen to 30 years from now and think "Wow, there still is hope." And yes, The Strokes did prove that there is hope in the world, that 'crunk' music and 'emo' music won't take over the world. The Strokes have been an influence to many a garage band for the past 7 years, and that is not likely to change. If only Julian would read and write a bit more, his skills would definitely improve. If I lost this CD, I would definitely buy it again and stand beside the CD rack to make sure other people do the same. This is a garage gem not to be missed. // 8

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overall: 9
Is This It Reviewed by: benjidude945, on january 12, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I've heard how hyped this was back in the day, 2001. I only picked it up last year and tried it out. I listened to the first 4 songs and absolutely hated it. I returned it to the library within 20 minutes and got a Libertines album instead. So then my friend gives me all 3 of their albums and I'm like "Oh, the Strokes, I guess I'll check em out again." I listen and within a month I become hooked. This album is seriously addicting. No other band I know can make me listen to an album once a day, for a nearly a week straight! It happened with Room on Fire also. They may rip Velvet Underground, but only sometimes. They are pure garage-rock bliss and they shine on this debut. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are simple enough to be relatable to. Last Night is about a girl leaving on you and looking back on it the next day. Barely Legal is about drinking, or doing it, for the first time. New York City Cops (UK Version) is about well, duh. Nothing too deep but it's simple enough that it holds your attention is fun to listen to. Casablancas is an interesting vocalist and drones on and sounds like a vacuum (no joke). But he sounds very cool and collected at the same time. // 8

Overall Impression: All the songs here are great, with no filler. Some take a little to really like, such as Alone, Together and Trying Your Luck, but they're just as good as Last Night or Someday. The best part of the album lies in the fact that it's only 35 minutes and the songs don't drag on. They are the perfect length and make you want to listen again. The guitar hooks do the same. If I lost this I'd be pretty bummed and would get another copy. But buy the UK version with NYC Cops. When it Started is a filler track they recorded for the US copy. // 9

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