The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

‘The New Abnormal’ is instant nostalgia

Photo by Creative Commons

The Strokes “The New Abnormal” album released April 10, 2020.

The Strokes are what every band wants to be.
Their 2001 album “Is This It” is the archetypal formula for a band that became synonymous with New York rock: cunningly simple guitar work underlined by straightforward drum patterns, all supporting Julian Casablancas’ iconic drawl as it delivers line after line of lyricism that can be taken as serious or whimsical as you like. The Strokes created and still create exceedingly natural music, as if these pieces had always been waiting in humanity’s collective consciousness, and the band was simply the first to discover them. The beauty of the Strokes is you can listen to a song like “Someday” and “Reptilia” for the first time and immediately feel as though this music belongs to you.
For the next decade, the five-piece enjoyed the success of existing musically in a space that no other band to date has been able to successfully enter — a space with so specific a sound and feel that Casablancas himself had to start an entirely new band to escape it. While their fifth album, 2013’s “Comedown Machine,” has not fared as well in the eyes of critics and fans, nearly a decade of silence from the band and a string of singles leading up to a new album still managed to pull listeners on to the edge of their seats.
Fortunately, “The New Abnormal” is no less true to the ineffable magic of the Strokes than anything released in the aughts.
The lead single, “At The Door,” was and is unlike anything I’ve heard. It’s that same magical nostalgic feeling the Strokes delivered on their earlier albums with an entirely different sound. There are barely any guitars on this song — there aren’t even any drums. Over what is largely a wave of synth chords, Casablancas coaxes the listener into an iteration of the Strokes that is very familiar and simultaneously not at all so, and the end result is transcendent.
In a way, “At The Door” gave listeners both spot-on and wildly inaccurate expectations for the album the Strokes delivered. On one hand, the mood Casablancas forms with his forlorn, longing vocals is thematic of the album’s frequently desperation-tinged songwriting. On the other hand, the synthwave retropop, co-engineered by none other than Rick Rubin, of all people, is often nothing more than a backdrop to the Strokes sound that audiences are already familiar with for the majority of the runtime on “The New Abnormal.”
That said, the majority of the album is not nearly as outside their wheelhouse. There is nothing if not an abundance of the Strokes’ characteristic guitar lines on “The New Abnormal,” which is perhaps why the second single, “Bad Decisions,” is a note-for-note pastiche of an 80s rock song. The band continues to pull from that sound on “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus” and “Eternal Summer,” but more deftly and to better artistic effect on these two than on the single. All the same, this tendency towards the derivative is easily the weakest factor in the album’s sound.
The framework of the album is skillful and intentional, with the excellent “The Adults Are Talking” welcoming you to the record and giving you a reintroduction to the classic Strokes sound, while “Ode To The Mets” closes the album with a perfectly melancholy combination of the band’s new and old sounds. Over the twinkling guitar picking and sentimental synthline, Casablancas progresses from a casual croon to a defiant shout. He sounds like an aging rockstar past his prime, standing on a dark stage before a grand audience as he reflects on a simpler time that has long passed. Come to think of it, that is exactly what he is.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *