First Impressions - Lost Opportunity

Oct 30

First Impressions - Lost Opportunity

Posted by EdwinCroth on

First Impressions should have been The Strokes' OK Computer. A Radiohead comparison might seem much considering Thom Yorke's generally accepted laureate-status and Johnny Greenwood's growing
compositional oeuvre, but as far as modern guitar rock, The Strokes are totally capable, in their own right, of the creative output generated by an elite group like RH. In fact, I think the potential for an OKC-grade album is probably trapped inside FI. Proposed during the album's first few tracks and maddeningly
scattered throughout until Red Light's closing thump, The Strokes' third effort almost fulfills its title's promise.

For example -

You Only Live Once and Juicebox are such strong tracks, it almost seems a waste that this intro-pair landed in an album that throughout its second half sometimes seems unsure of itself, even bored.

Listen to YOLO'S Rhodes piano demo, and you have the prototype of a gorgeous tune that works just as well in its original melancholy sound as it does in its celebratory FI version. With just a layer of Is This It/ROF fuzz uncompromisingly removed from Albert's guitar, the verse totally pops when he introduces that bar chord at :24. Nick's post-chorus trickling scale collects so evenly into Julian's sad but redemptive "and I'll get along with you." Fab's snare finally sounds mean and loud. Bright and thickly outlined, YOLO introduces a Technicolor world. This is an ideal first impression.

Meanwhile, Juicebox may be one of Julian's eureka moments. He's always mentioned wanting to make futuristic-sounding music, and JB's sinister freak-outs nail it. Where do those wild transitions come from? How does Albert's stabbing E/D/Bb pre-prechorus warp into the pretty ascending/descending prechorus so
efficiently? For me, Juicebox never sounds disjointed when its stalking main riff inverts into Nick's revolving sequence that finds the JB stalker in a sort of pre-ecstacy nausea before Albert slams him with a final Dm. And Nick's solo-intro shimmers as though the Flux Capacitor had just split open, exploding Neon Chuck Berry zapping a laser slide into a searing lattice pattern until the Delorean's breaks scream at 1:44.

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