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The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth (Cover Artwork)

The Strokes

The Strokes: First Impressions of EarthFirst Impressions of Earth (2006)
Sony Music Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: blade-runnerblade-runner
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It seems the trend with most indie or alternative bands being accepted into the mainstream and subsequently overhyped, is that the overwhelming pressure put forward by the masses often results in rushed, lesser quality albums or otherwise personal devastations (Hüsker Dü, Nirvana among countless others). However, in the most pleasant cases, the bands will continue to put out quality discs, that while not be as successful as the record that launched their super stardom, will keep devoted fans pleased and continuously supportive. With the release of First Impressions of Earth, New York's the Strokes are well on their way to becoming that type of group.

First Impressions of Earth is the followup to the underrated sophomore album Room on Fire, which of course followed the much praised debut Is This It? According to many a rock critic and music elitist, Room on Fire's detractors were that it was basically a "lazy rehashing of the debut," an emulation of themselves as a band. Personally, I see nothing wrong with the formula and figured their sound was already great to begin with, so why bother changing it? Alas, the band seemed to have taking the criticisms to heart, as First Impressions is their most different, experimental sounding record to date, albeit still familiar to the sound that drew us all in five years ago.

For a strong example of their new sound, one needn't look further than debut single "Juicebox." A thick bass and drum rhythm section carries the track, with more emphasis of the two instruments than seen in either of the two previous albums, intertwining with the two tight guitars to create a professional, well-played sound. The slow yet infectious "On the Other Side" features some of Casablanca's most mature, personal lyrics to date; "I hate them all, I hate them all, I hate myself, For hating them" he states, before launching into the chorus of "On the other side, On the other side, Nobody's waiting for me, On the other side." This may read like melancholic trite, though it's used to perfection in this track, one of the highlights of the album. The Strokes of old shines through on the impressively catchy opener "You Only Live Once," to the familiar "Electricityscape," and the throwback-to-the-sixties exuberance of "Red Light," all wearing their various influences on their sleeves, all the while creating something fun and fresh of their own.

Of course, there are the downsides of the album. "15 Minutes," while highly original material for the band, is ultimately a bore, and I find myself skipping over it. Other non-standouts include "Killing Lies" and "Ask Me Anything," with its tiring pace. Still, these misfortunes are redeemed by the generally great tracks that surround them, making them not entirely unlistenable.

What exactly it is the Strokes ultimately hope to achieve with their music remains to be seen. However, so long as they continue to put out quality discs with high replay value, they will remain that rare breed of band where hype did not spoil the goods.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingAndrew Jackson Jihad - People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the WorldThe Clash - The ClashThursday - Full CollapseNirvana - BleachNirvana - In UteroAvenged Sevenfold - City Of EvilThe Lillingtons - Death by TelevisionNirvana - NevermindJoy Division - Unknown Pleasures

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Cpk (December 28, 2007)

i love this bad and there one of my favorites

ilovesonny (May 4, 2006)

All i have to say is
AWESOME!!!

Anonymous (March 6, 2006)

i love this album the strokes are great and i am going to see them this year i love juicebox

Anonymous (February 21, 2006)

este disco yo pense que no me iva a gustar pero la neta es ta bien chido yo lo tengo original y me enoja ke otros se crean por ke lo tienen pirata esta de poca ma..... el disco me laten todas la canciones la de you only live once , juicebox, razor blade, electricity scape etc. los felicito

Anonymous (January 28, 2006)

They suck. the cd sucks.

Anonymous (January 25, 2006)

"the rating is for the cocksucking that this band has put up..The Casablancas' father owns one the top modeling agencies in the world, thats how they got big, not by real hard work, but by their parents' money..FUCK THESE WHITE BELT WEARING FUCKS.."

yea, cuz no other bands out there get to where they are because of their parents. jesus christ, every fucking band i know of had all, if not most of their eqipment bought for them by their parents as gifts in highschool or whatever. how many kids finance their first guitar or drum kit themselves?

white belts? get over yourself you fucking tool, jesus every band dresses one way or another, whether its a fucking white belt or a subhumans patch you look equally as rediculous.

paul

Anonymous (January 25, 2006)

i cant believe some of you kids still decide what you will and will not listen too based on how a band 'got where they are'.

listen to the fucking music bottom line. i dont care how DIY they are, bands like propoghandi are just shit and noise to me.

do i care that against me is now on a major label? fuck no

do i care if these guys started out huge and their dads bought them their equipment? no

do i care that saves the day's chris connely's family is rich and bought him and the band everything they needed to play shows and practice and home recording shit? no

listen to the music you nerds. oi oi oi DIY, oi oi oi, fuck the system. please.

paul

Anonymous (January 25, 2006)

after having given this about 8 or 9 spins now i definately think its their weakest album but still solid.

razorblade, you only live once and electricityscape are the strokes of old, very catchy and done well. all fantastic songs.

the new styles are hit and miss. i dig juicebox, and 'vision of division' is sick. even 'ask me anything' is cool for what it is. 'heart in a cage' is another success, and much like juicebox and vision of division, has that new, darker, more epic, more drum and bass driven sound of their new direction.

but other departures suck. the first minute of '15 minutes' feels like 15 minutes. painfully slow and boring and julian sounds atroctious. 'killing lies' is also filler.

my biggest complaint? theres no need to have a 14 track 55 minutes strokes album imo. just no.

thats the bottom line. room on fire is my favorite because it was just like the debut, but done tighter, catchier, quicker and bottom line; better. i appreciate their branching out on about half the tracks on this album, but sadly the brancing out is as much hit as it is miss. certainly a 'growing pains' type album. i def. think they still have life and quality albums left in them for sure.

paul

Anonymous (January 23, 2006)

buster langs. lester bangs did it more coherently and much better than that. you need a few more journalism/creative writing courses. i guess anyone can blog.
-TOBB

Anonymous (January 20, 2006)

Buster Langs nailed these brats.

Anonymous (January 19, 2006)

You can get a better picture of the album cover.

Anonymous (January 19, 2006)

The stars are my rating for me to poop on

Anonymous (January 19, 2006)

This album made a really good initial impression on me. Weeks later, I wonder if it will have the staying power of the phenomenal "Room on Fire." Regardless, "Electricityscape" is a flat out terrific song.

hey_sailor (January 19, 2006)

This album is somewhat growing on me, but the rant on NN2S today is dead on...

Anonymous (January 19, 2006)

busterlangs' review is pretty bad. i don't mean to rip on you, but i just really dislike the style and approach to the entire review. it's irritating, inflated, and those aren't sentences.

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

If you are interested , see my review at http://busterlangs.com
- buster langs

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

There first real album was on a major label. No one is saying that they had some sort of slow ascent to the big leagues like New Found Glory (strange to say, but admittedly true) or even Against Me. They put out an album that sold 2 million copies when most of them were 22 years old. Yeah. When starting up towards that record, they had the luxury afforded by whatever. Maybe. Regardless, they put out some great discs and this is 2 records after they hit it big, so it seems silly to whine about how they got their foot in the door 5 years ago.

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

Even if they did get big by financial support they still make great music... and it is way more punk that any of this Unseen street punk garbage and fucking metalcore.
Score is for people who read too much into the image of a band.

-Not-To-Regret

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

the rating is for the cocksucking that this band has put up..The Casablancas' father owns one the top modeling agencies in the world, thats how they got big, not by real hard work, but by their parents' money..FUCK THESE WHITE BELT WEARING FUCKS..

B-rent (January 18, 2006)

I must say i picked this album up the first day it came out at HMV or $12 and i got a free t-shirt and i used a gift card so it was free basically.ol and there is a picture of boobs in it lol which is great lol. People you can't make your decision on just the first single it is way more complex then that Juicebox is a good song but it isnt the best on the album so i say pick it up its only $12 dont download it like a dumbass

B-rent (January 18, 2006)

I must say i picked this album up the first day it came out at HMV or $12 and i got a free t-shirt and i used a gift card so it was free basically.ol and there is a picture of boobs in it lol which is great lol. People you can't make your decision on just the first single it is way more complex then that Juicebox is a good song but it isnt the best on the album so i say pick it up its only $12 dont download it like a dumbass

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

"oh yea , by the way, not that any of you buy cd's you fucking ignorant assholes, but the liner notes and lyric layout is really fucking cool "

I said this earlier, but I agree. Most of the people commenting on how bad this album and cover art is probably haven't heard anything except "Juicebox."

The linear notes are awesome. The more I listen to "Juicebox" the more I like it as well. Kind of reminds me of the Pixies "Subbacultcha." And that my friends, is a very good thing.

Jim

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

Having barely enough money to get by is so punk rock.

the_other_scott (January 18, 2006)

to the dude below, i always thought buddyhead's "four-car garage rock" summed that complaint up pretty good.

they're rich kids. get over it. they broke pretty fucking big here, not just in london.

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

Fuck the Strokes. I can't believe they're on PunkNews.org.
Those fucking debutantes are not even a little punk rock.
And, while we're on the subject, my band would break big in London too, if my dad would fly us there every weekend to gig.
fuck that weak shit.
sunset

the_other_scott (January 18, 2006)

dude below. i couldn't agree with you more.

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that while I would never impugn Nirvana's historical importance or influence, I think that that has much more to do with social and cultural specifics and that, straight up, outside of this factors, just listening to the albums in a hyperbolic chamber, The Strokes are a far better band. Crucify me.

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

In Utero was depressing and negative B.S. Nevermind and Bleach, for all their nihlism, had great sarcastic wit and a sense of humor along with vigorous, lively music. Score is for all slit-my-wrists music.

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

i have to agree with the person below. in utero is the best album nirvana made in my opinion. it's lyrics are more haunting and the music is more creative than anything on bleach or nervemind. this is just my opinion on what i think was a bad comparison. i havn't heard first impressions yet so i wont comment.

SilentStorms (January 18, 2006)

I can't believe u said that about In Utero. One of the best albums ever. I mean c'mon, they came close to - and if not topped, Nevermind! That is fucking hard!!!

SlackMFr (January 18, 2006)

My score is also for David Cross in the video, but this band couldn't hustle hockey helmets to the handicapped.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

One drop of sweat from Eric Davidson's nut sack would be enough to obliterate this band and all bullshit, wank-ass, fashioncore major label garage bands off the face of the planet.

-Ken

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

This CD is great. After lots of listens it might actually be the best strokes CD yet!!!

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

I thought "Is This It" was kind of bland and definitely more than just a little overhyped, but I really dug "Room on Fire" and this album has some really damn good tracks.

Drunken3rd (January 17, 2006)

Score is for David Cross being in the video

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Does album art seriously have ANYTHING to do with the fucking music? If I based all my purchases on album art solely I'd have one shitty cd collection.

Scruffy (January 17, 2006)

Oh, and down there, when I typed "inspirational", I meant "inspirationless.

Scruffy (January 17, 2006)

I don't know if Room On Fire was better than Is This It? And I don't know if this is better than either of the first two.
But none of it would surprise me. I wouldn't think it'd be too hard to top two of the most inspirational, generically nostalgic, overhyped albums of the last 10 years.

And I wanted to like them, too. I remember hearing about them like they were gonna save music for a year before Is This It? came out, and all I could think when i heard it was, "Seriously, is it?"

mjg (January 17, 2006)

This album is solid, and you can tell the band had fun making it. Also, the packaging (especially the deluxe one) is amazing. It's good to see a popular act promoting modern art, I hope a majority of people will learn to appreciate it.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

dudes blow hardcore rugged and raw.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

"The chorus to "Razorblade" is, note for note, Barry Manilow's "Mandy."

score is for Barry"

oh, so you read the pitchfork review too? BURN...I AM THE INSULT MASTER.

dont do that shit. and its not note for note 'mandy'. its a vagely similar vocal pattern, not even melody.

paul

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

oh yea , by the way, not that any of you buy cd's you fucking ignorant assholes, but the liner notes and lyric layout is really fucking cool

paul

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

solid album, still havent listened to it much. Room on fire kicked the shit out of 'is this it' in my humble opinion.

the drumming is much more elaborate on this album, finally their drummer played drums that didnt sound like they could be easily reproduced by a drum machine...or sound like a drum machine in the first place

julian tries to sing a little more on this one too

is solid, if you're a fan. its def. more elaborate and dense of an album as opposed ot the 'first listen and hooked' of room on fire.

paul aka poopypants

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

"The first two Strokes albums were solid stuff, but that is some of the worst cover art I've ever seen in my life."

Fuck the cover art, have you seen the liner notes? That's some amazing art if you ask me. I think the strokes could care less about their album covers... they're all very simplistic.

-Not-To-Regret

Testiclese (January 17, 2006)

i really dig this cd. on another topic, their is this shitty group called hollywood undead
http://www.myspace.com/hollywoodundead
i really need people who like real music to hear it, because its the shittiest thing ever. it SHOULD be a joke
its white boy hip hop with ... screams. and involves "fashion conscious Metal"

laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Score is for juice box. Not the song, my JUICE BOX. Mmm Hi C!

My sister used to like this band, okay, let me tell you what I got out of them: First of all, overproduced. Secondly, the trick they do to sound like Television is actually a really simple thing with their guitar tone where they can just lazily play some simple shit and get it to sound "metropolitan."

Dunno, wasn't a big fan. This band always pissed me off because people would lump the Hives in with this dreck.

-Will

greg0rb (January 17, 2006)

This album is pretty decent and I think will grow on me. But I should not have paid 3 bucks extra for the "deluxe" packaging... I'm a dumbass. Well, actually I'm a nerd for cutout cover art (i loved Thrice's Artist in the Ambulance art or old vinyl like Rolling Stones Some Girls or Zeppelin III), but this one is not as well done. The slide-in cards dont fit the pocket well and they all slide around in there and don't line up nice with the little window cutouts! Aw shucks.
-Greg

allyeah (January 17, 2006)

The chorus to "Razorblade" is, note for note, Barry Manilow's "Mandy."

score is for Barry

ILOVESCOTT (January 17, 2006)

" so why bother changing it?"

ummmm....

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

In regard to Casablancas' lyrics in "On the Other Side," I think that the real poignance of the song lies in the lyrics that directly follow what the reviewer noted:

"I hate them all, I hate them all, I hate myself, For hating them, So, I'll drink some more, I'll love them all, I'll drink even more, I'll hate them even more than I did before."

The song is, as Casablancas later states, about being tired of being so judgmental, recognizing inherent flaws in oneself, but not being strong enough to do much more than struggle and ultimately fail when trying to confront them.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

On this site, a lot of people pride themselves on being fans from early on. Look at how vocal people are about knowing Against Me four years ago. I remember making sure that everyone knew that I had "Chesire Cat" a good year before "Dammit" hit popular radio stations. And I remember my older brother hating when everyone in middle school bought "Dookie" when it got huge in 1994 when he had had all of the early Lookout EPs and "Kerplunk."

I'm pretty much the opposite with this band. I didn't give them a chance until last year. Going back and relistening to it, I can admit that "Is This It" is okay, but the stuff they've done since that first album is far more impressive, despite the what critics and record sales might say in terms of disappointing follow-ups. "Room on Fire" was really goddamn good and this might be better. The band is doing some great stuff. They are not simply rehasing old things. Their guitars are phenomenal. The singles tend to be the least interesting songs on the albums, but take a listen to "Electricityscape," "Fear of Sleep," "You Only Live Once," or "Razorblade" and you'll realize that this band is balls to the wall.

Sure, you can always listen to this band and get bitter about how quickly they shot to stardom and how cool everyone thought they were and how many magazines they were on. You can bitch about how they sound like Television or The Velvet Underground. But that would be a real shame, because I think you'd be missing out on some really incredible music. Also, it seems rather petty and, perhaps more importantly, it's just not true.

BrandonSideleau (January 17, 2006)

dont know how the Nirvana discussion got started but.....the best Nirvana album is "Bleach"....followed by "In Utero" and then "Nevermind"....although they are all great.

kingofpain (January 17, 2006)

To the comment below, he was refferring to Kurt Cobain's suicide.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

"in utero is better than nevermind you fuckhead. they did not rush out a shitty record."

I was just thinking this same exact thing. "In Utero" is miles better than anything Nirvana had ever done.

As for this record, the more I listen, the more I like. And the cover art might suck, but I think the booklet is nicely done. Don't knock it till you see it.

Jim

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

even if this is their best album you can't convince me that his voice will ever be worth listening to. i didn't think these guys were bad until i heard that dude sing, then it was all over

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Score is for people who still say they threw up in their mouth a little.

CaveatMalefactor (January 17, 2006)

I mean...

CaveatMalefactor (January 17, 2006)

I'm really enjoying this album. It's all over the place. Good lyrics. Great music.

Anchors (January 17, 2006)

The first two Strokes albums were solid stuff, but that is some of the worst cover art I've ever seen in my life.

danielsan (January 17, 2006)

On the other side, On the other side, Nobody's waiting for me, On the other side
Did this remind anyone else of Against Me! ? Or do we not talk about them any more

"On the inside, on the inside, on the inside, do you wanna know how it feels on the inside?"

Since94 (January 17, 2006)

I've had this cd for a week and a half now. Hasn't left my cd player yet. Other standout tracks include "Razorblade" and "Heart in a cage"....great disc, best of 2006 so far.
Paix

inagreendase (January 17, 2006)

Geez, this thing isn't for sale here yet in the Pacific Standard Time Zone, and yet, you guys plop up this review like you're eager to be first to review it [like the fucking Washington Post or something]...

What the fuck?

Are you serious? This album came out 2 weeks ago. And even if it did hit stores today, we've been posting reviews of new releases on their street dates at midnight on Tuesdays for a cumulative total of several years now.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

i just threw up in my mouth a little, but thendecided not to swallow it, and instead spit on the only Strokes fan I know.

bloodbrothersburnpiano (January 17, 2006)

"i hate them all, i hate them all, i hate myself, for hating them"

these are mature lyrics?

the_other_scott (January 17, 2006)

"So, yeah, fuck The Strokes. Thanks to them, it's impossible to go even one day without hearing some shitty garage-rock band being played on the radio."

it isn't really their fault they got huge. it wasn't like they cashed in on some already-popular trend.

they made an album that they wanted to make and it happened to blow all the rap-metal and mall punk out of the water.

if you don't like what's on the radio, don't listen to the fucking radio. i figured that one out when i was about 13. and i was a pretty dumb kid.

Crookedsuperhero (January 17, 2006)

That juicebox song sucked, but then again, so did 90% of the other songs i've heard by them.

Timis (January 17, 2006)

plain and simple....this album owns...

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

I put this album on when I sodomize your mother.

kingofpain (January 17, 2006)

I loved their first two albums. I listened to this one a few times about a month ago, and honestly, I don't remember anything about it.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Better than your band.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Room on Fire’s detractors were that it was basically a “lazy rehashing of the debut,“

And the debut was basically a lazy re-hashing of the same song over and over again. So, basically, The Strokes released two albums that sounded like the same song put on repeat for around half an hour.

Juicebox is awful. I imagine the rest of this album is just as bad.

This band sent modern indie-rock even further down the shitter than it already was, and the NME creamed their shorts all over it.

So, yeah, fuck The Strokes. Thanks to them, it's impossible to go even one day without hearing some shitty garage-rock band being played on the radio.

Old criticisms, I know - but I'm still utterly bemused as to how these guys are still around, and why people are still buying into their schtick.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

its funny when people say things like "this is better than 90% of the rock out there" because if you subtract those records they say that about, you actually get the remaining 10%.

snoozefest will continue to go on in 2006 despite no proper insurance liability and corporate backing.

score went from 3 to 2 on the artwork. prisms. i hate you.

wyzo

blade-runner (January 17, 2006)

i got this album two weeks ago

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Geez, this thing isn't for sale here yet in the Pacific Standard Time Zone, and yet, you guys plop up this review like you're eager to be first to review it [like the fucking Washington Post or something]...

What the fuck?

Cruz Bustamante
Lieutenant Governor
State of California

the_other_scott (January 17, 2006)

these guys have certainly gone down hill since "is this it" but this is SO much better than "room on fire"

not to mention the strokes are a lot fucken better than 95 % of mainstream rock and about 75 % of what's considered "punk" these days.

blade-runner (January 17, 2006)

nirvana would actually be lumped under the "personal devastations" category.

you know, with kurt cobain killing himself and all.

asscrab.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

definitely their best album...

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

in utero is better than nevermind you fuckhead. they did not rush out a shitty record.

Anonymous (January 17, 2006)

Review is spot on.

Not their best, but a solid release.

Gets better with repeated listens.

gladimnotemo (January 17, 2006)

I know this band is just a hack of every NYC band ever, but I'm not really opposed to it outright. Some of this sounds like Television or something simliar, which is an awful comparison to make. But I heard the lyrics were good, so I think I will download it and give it a chance.

inagreendase (January 17, 2006)

Godfather understated it; this album is sooooo boring. I'm not familiar with their older stuff besides the singles, which are memorable, but after a solid 3, almost 4 listens I don't remember a single note of this.

maverick (January 17, 2006)

Now that's some terrible cover art!

Still haven't heard this album yet, but loved the last two, so I'll give it a chance.

-Scott

Godfather (January 17, 2006)

i'm a fan of the strokes but this album was pretty meh....just really boring

darkstarm (January 17, 2006)

good to hear. saw them a couple years ago and their singer was either very drunk or drugged up or something. either way it was great cause he kept messing with the audience, i almost pissed myself laughing.

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