The Strokes – The New Abnormal – album review

Synthesizer sorrow, coupled with creative risk taking. Desperate vocal delivery, backed up by slim, slick, harmonious guitar licks. Sad, poetic lyricism and crunchy distortion. The new ‘Strokes album is all of these things put together and more, yet somehow it all fits together and works so well.

Creativity is at the heart of The New Abnormal and I couldn’t be more pleased that a band with the legendary status The Strokes has, have made this U-turn of expectations. Album opener, The Adults Are Talking, instantly forces the listener to get used to the risk taking The Strokes plan on commencing with throughout the entirety of the record.

The second track, Selfless, has a mellowed sadness found so often on this album during its verses but cracks open a can of hope during the chorus which lifts the song to being one of the more memorable moments on the entire record. Julian Casablancas sings, “Please don’t be long, because I want your love”. The lyrics make it seem as if something impressively positive is just at an arms reach away all over The New Abnormal.

Bad Decisions is a happier sounding moment on the record that lifts the mood of proceedings for a brief 5ish minutes on the tracklisting. The songs are generally lengthier compare the the usual ‘Strokes formula and it truly does allow for more scope and more creativity to ensue onto the record.

At The Door has Thom Yorke sensitivities as it progresses into its latter stages. A sense of fear and dread turn into something euphoric and beautiful, giving it a heavenly shine amidst the darkness surrounding it.

Sparks of The Strokes’ origins flare up from time to time on this new album. Why Are Sundays So Depressing comes packed with a head-nodding, foot-stomping guitar line and shows off that off the wall, odd-ball swagger they’ve been known for over the years.

Eternal Summer is one song in particular that people will either love or hate. Personally, I think this is an amazing song that showcases strengths to the group that haven’t been previously seen before. Falsetto vocals, driving building guitar lines that expire into something huge and dramatic, it all comes together on this monster of a track. It’s the longest song on the album and it has every emotion under the sun packed into it somewhere along the way.

The New Abnormal is truly a record that lives up to its title. Throughout the tracklisting on this project you’ll be kept guessing, wondering how certain songs even work with so many different parts crammed into them, but ultimately you’ll be left satisfied and eager to listen some more. One of the most creative and best efforts of 2020, The Strokes have released one of their finest records to date.


Listen to ‘Bad Decisions’ here:

Image sourced from Spotify
Words by Jared Musson

Jared Musson

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