In high school, I only used to be able to fall asleep with the television on, and subsequently would be woken up at some ungodly dawnish hour to turn off whatever infomercials Comedy Central would have running. It happened all the time, although there is only one instance that I clearly remember and will never forget, because instead of turning off the television, I actually stayed up and watched.
I was awoken at 4am to the opening riff of The Strokes’ “Last Nite”. The classic stage setup of their music video reminded me of the late night shows I only saw pictures of the Beatles playing, and their sound was so familiar of the Rolling Stones records I’d barely dabbled in. There was something completely classic about them, yet something that no one was doing in 2001. And of course, I was also immediately in love with the entire band. The Strokes looked how everyone in my ‘hip’ neighborhood still wishes they could look. I was instantly taken by them, and I distinctly remember not going back to bed that morning, but sneaking downstairs to the family computer to try to download the song on Napster.
Is This It became a staple in my life, and still is to this day. I have so many memories of their music throughout my life, that is it strange to think of what would have defined my late adolescence and early adulthood without them. That album (along with Room On Fire, in my personal opinion) passed the test of true art: time. With relatable, universal themes of life’s transitions and catchy rhythms, there is no way that the Marissa A. Ross of 2061 won’t be illegally downloading Strokes’ albums and loving them.
That being said, it’s no surprise that Stereogum curated an amazing collection of Strokes’ covers to create Stroked: A Tribute To Is This It for the ten year anniversary of the album. Usually I think covers are bogus– in a “Why do you think you can say something the band hasn’t already said?” sort of way– but this is different. Maybe because it includes one of my favorite bands, Real Estate, but more so because The Strokes just deserve the music community to be like, “We love you!”.
You can get the entire cover album and read the behind the scenes stories of the bands’ Strokes love at Stereogum. It features Peter Bjorn & John, Frankie Rose, Austra and many more. Definitely worth getting your weekly download on for.