“The New Abnormal” by The Strokes: Album Review

Image courtesy of pitchfork.com

“The New Abnormal” by the Strokes (cover art)

Colleen Rogers, Social Media Coordinator

The Strokes’ first studio album in over seven years, “The New Abnormal,” could not have been released at a more fitting time. With so much of daily life having been halted, we truly are living a new abnormal. Overall, I was very impressed with this album, as the Strokes were able to maintain the features of their old sound, such as driving guitar riffs, while at the same time incorporating newer elements, such as synthesizers.

In this review, I have ranked the songs on the album from my least favorite to my most favorite, providing descriptions and my thoughts on each song.

 

“Why Are Sundays So Depressing”

“Why Are Sundays So Depressing” begins as a classic, rock-tinged Strokes’ song. During the chorus, synthesizers are introduced, keeping with pattern of synthesizers and guitar throughout the album. I appreciate the band’s efforts to incorporate synthesizers, although I feel that the ones in the chorus become repetitive and a bit annoying. Overall, “Why Are Sundays So Depressing” is a solid song, but does not stand out from the rest of the album.

Song Rating: 5/10

 

“Eternal Summer”

“Eternal Summer” is a dance-y, seemingly carefree track. Behind the façade of bliss, Casablancas subtly warns of the dangers of climate change, while singing “summer is coming, it’s here to stay.” The song is a breath of fresh air at first, but it drags a bit towards the end and could have been shorter.

Song Rating: 6/10

 

“Selfless”

“Selfless” starts out with a sequence of guitar arpeggios, leading into Casablancas’ singing.  The song eventually progresses into a faster paced guitar sequence after the chorus, reverting back to the slow arpeggios afterwards. The progression of the song is really well orchestrated, although the guitar becomes repetitive towards the end. Lyrically, I feel that the song is not as distinctive as other songs on the album, as Casablancas sings about waiting for a relationship to improve.

Song Rating: 6/10

 

“Not The Same Anymore”

In “Not The Same Anymore,” Casablancas laments a deteriorating relationship. The song is slow and moody, with the guitars lending to a sense of hopelessness that Casblancas sings about. The lyrics are extremely raw and self-aware, with Casablancas conveying a sense of regret towards his past behavior. I feel that although this song is not distinct instrumentally, lyrically the song is one of the best written on the album.

Song Rating: 7/10

 

“Bad Decisions”

With yet another powerful guitar riff, “Bad Decisions” is reminiscent of “Dancing by Myself” by Billy Idol, and the band actually includes Idol in the writing credits for the song for this very reason. Casablancas sings of the band’s desire to move further away from their old sound, which may be seen as a “bad decision” by the band’s original fans. This song makes me want to get up and go on a road trip for some reason, and that’s why I like it so much.

Song Rating: 8/10

 

“The Adults Are Talking”

As the album opener, “The Adults Are Talking” certainly does its job of drawing listeners in. The song overall is full of several distinct guitar melodies that perfectly compliment each other.  My favorite point in the song is the call and response section between the guitars, mimicking “the adults talking.” Casablancas’ singing stands out to me on this song as well, and his falsetto towards the end of the song has noticeably improved compared to previous albums.

Song Rating: 9/10

 

“Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus”

Combining eighties’ synthesizers and a driving electric guitar riff, “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” introduces a faster pace to the album. Casablancas sings how he wants to surround himself with new people and new experiences, as he reminisces on some of his past. This song is one of my favorites off the album, and I really like the sound of the synths and guitars together.

Song Rating: 9/10

 

“At The Door”

The ballad “At The Door” is a departure from anything the Strokes have produced before, lacking drums and only using guitars sparingly. Instead, synthesizers are used throughout the track, adding to the song’s melancholy and vulnerable theme, with Casablancas singing “use me like an oar, and get yourself to shore.” The song is a truly beautiful peek inside Casablancas’ emotions as he copes with a seemingly damaged relationship. I really appreciate the Strokes’ effort to branch out with “At The Door,” and they succeeded in creating a memorable song with minimal instruments.

Song Rating: 10/10

 

 “Ode To The Mets”

The album closer, “Ode To The Mets,” is my favorite song off “The New Abnormal” for a variety of reasons. The melody paired with the synthesizers creates a somber mood that effortlessly progresses into a more impassioned chorus. While the instrumentation of the track is amazing, the lyrics are what stand out to me the most. Casablancas sings “gone now are the old times” and “pardon the silence that you’re hearing, it’s turning into a deafening, painful, shameful roar.” I find it amazing how the lyrics of the song so closely relate to the ways many of us are feeling while in isolation from the rest of the world. This song is a current-day masterpiece that I have been listening to on repeat.

Song Rating: 10/10

 

Overall Album Rating: 9/10