Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Strokes

  • The Modern Age [Rough Trade EP, 2000] A-
  • Is This It [RCA, 2001] A-
  • Room on Fire [RCA, 2003] ***
  • First Impressions of Earth [RCA, 2006] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Modern Age [Rough Trade EP, 2000]
Lou Reed's too easy, Television just wrong--this New York five-piece's three-song preview reminds me of the Vibrators. Who were songfully nonstop Britpunks-of-convenience, slightly trad and not too deep, hence the necessity of IDing them. Their 1978 debut is cherished by many. A-

Is This It [RCA, 2001]
Great groove band, end of story--I wish. True grooves extend toward infinity, for one thing; here the beats implode, clashing/resolving with punky brevity and gnarly faux simplicity. Their grooves carry melody, too--and not all of it, not hardly. The Strokes' privileged formalism is annoying, so too their delight in romantic dysfunction. But they're smarter than the playa haters who aren't smart enough to target these blatant shortcomings--and also than, for instance, Firewater, who didn't start a bidding war because they do lots less with the same attitude. A-

Room on Fire [RCA, 2003]
Narcissism repeats itself ("Between Love and Hate," "What Ever Happened"). ***

First Impressions of Earth [RCA, 2006]
You know how it is--the gym does more for your wind than for your jump shot ("You Only Live Once," "Ask Me Anything"). ***