This got me to thinking -- since nearly everyone and their mother will be reviewing Angles, why not make a list of lines/ideas that are bound to be in these reviews? Sure, the reviews for Angles don't exist just this yet, but it's not rocket science to guess the types of lines that will included once they slowly trickle onto the Internet. It can be difficult to write a review without saying some of the basic stuff about a band, but much like the list I wrote about year-end best album lists, a lot of what will come is definitely inevitable.
So let's have some fun while I present, in no particular order, a list of the predicted top ten lines from the forthcoming reviews of The Strokes latest album Angles.
10. "A return to form"
When a band takes more than a year between albums, whatever their latest album turns out to be is destined to be "a return to form." Whatever that form is, the latest album returns to it. It's as simple as that. Did the members of the band turn into a bunch of gelatinous globs between albums? No, they did not. Most importantly, however, it has been more than a year between albums for The Strokes.
9. "Worth the wait"
This one just writes itself. As I mentioned before, whenever there is more than a year or two between albums, all the focus goes onto that time spent between albums. For the record, The Strokes' last album -- First Impressions of Earth -- was released in 2006. That five whole years of being "worth the wait."
8. Something about the band members' side projects
As Mike Escoto dutifully pointed out last week
, each member of The Strokes -- save that plucky Nick Valensi -- has had his own side project. This will have unforeseen consequences on Angles
, consequences I can't quite explain -- nor can most other music critics. Yet they will let their readers know about the side projects and their quasi-influence on the album.
7. Something about the Arcade Fire's Grammy
Indie rock was king at the Grammy's, with the Arcade Fire taking home the Grammy for Album of the Year. The Arcade Fire are The Strokes' contemporaries and they just went out and raised the bar ridiculously high for indie rock bands. Why not compare The Strokes to the Arcade Fire? That particular award has very little to do with The Strokes' career, unless you consider the fact that they don't have one. Oh, but it's worth mentioning. Both bands play indie rock, don't they? Sheesh.
6. Something about The White Stripes' breakup
Jack and Meg finally called it quits. 2001 was the year for The Strokes and The White Stripes. The amount of ass both bands kicked with their respective albums that year was unparalleled. Rock had its new ambassadors and its landscape was going through some major changes. Now only one of those bands is left. I can just imagine something along the lines of "Now that The White Stripes have packed up shop and called it quits, The Strokes are left..." to do whatever.
5. Far too much time will be devoted toward lead singer Julian Casablancas
Angles had a funky recording process. Unlike on previous albums, the non-Julian members of the band -- the ones who play instruments -- recorded their parts together while Casablancas came in later to record his vocals. Casablancas' solo project is also the most recent, having released his album just last year. For all intents and purposes, Casablancas is the face and lifeblood of the band. He is, however, far from being the most talented member. Yet he will most likely get all the attention. Where's the love for Al Hammond Jr.?
4. "Signature style"
Yes, the way Julian Casablancas sings is different. The band even managed to carve their niche around this, emerging on the scene in the early part of last decade to help usher in a new era of rock. Does not every band in existence have their own "signature style," one that makes them different from all the other bands? I suppose The Strokes' style is one that launched many an indie rock ship, if you will, but the stating that they have their own "signature style" is rather redundant.
3. "Ambitious effort"
Every album recorded today is a goddamn ambitious effort -- well, save for some spectacularly bad YAFI submissions. A band without ambition is just a group of four or five dudes who deliver pizza or work in some dead-end office job. Suffice it to say, The Strokes have just a touch of ambition in their bodies when they set out to record an album.
2. Mentions of New York City
There might be music fan that listens to albums that are relatively new -- released within the last decade, at least -- that has no idea where The Strokes are from. That one person will then learn that The Strokes hail from New York City after the first mention of it in the review. They will then subsequently grow weary after the next nineteen mentions of "New York" and The Strokes' "trademark New York sound."
1. Comparisons to Is This It
It's been 10 whole years since The Strokes' fantastic debut album, Is This It, came into our lives. We all remember where we were the first time we heard "Last Nite" and how it tickled our fancies in all the right ways. Is This It is perhaps the best album of the last decade -- a singular achievement that many bands can only dream of achieving. That being said, get ready for the constant comparisons of Angles to Is This It. It's far too irresistible to pass up, especially given the nice, even 10 years between the two albums.
Sure, we often uphold bands to the standards they set with their debut albums, especially if those debuts were anywhere near the scope of Is This It. Yet The Strokes have established themselves throughout their decade-long career as indie rock innovators, and here they are sitting on the verge of the release of their fourth album. But what the heck -- how does this brand-new fourth album stand up to their first?