Videos by American Songwriter
10 years ago, a raggedy bunch of New York kids released a grubby and glorious first record that exploded in the landscape of the post-punk revival and reminded us all what we love about rock ‘n’ roll. In honor of the 10-year anniversary of The Strokes’ debut, Stereogum presents STROKED: A Tribute To Is This It. Featured artists include Peter Bjorn & John, Chelsea Wolfe, The Morning Benders, Frankie Rose and Real Estate.
Says Peter Bjorn & John’s John Eriksson about the record, “For me, it was almost like when I heard “Jump” with Van Halen for the first time back in 1984. When we recorded our cover of “Is This It,” we didn’t want to do anything crazy or weird like turning the song into a acid jazz P-funk power ballad. We just wanted to play it as good as we could.” True to his word, Peter Bjorn & John’s version of the title track doesn’t stray far from the original.
The same can’t be said for covers like The Morning Benders’ electro-dance version of “Last Night,” which is as clean and polished as The Strokes’ was slack and scratchy. Says vocalist Chris Chu, “Back when Is This It was released, everyone was going crazy over how much The Strokes sounded like VU and Television and Iggy Pop. But to me, their first single “Last Nite” always felt like a Beatles song. The way the rhythmic elements always stay out of the way of the vocal, that one-note guitar line a la George Harrison. Even Julian’s vocal has that combo of snotty grit and melody that reminds of Lennon.” To simply sum up the hit, he adds, “That’s good pop!”
Stream and download STROKED here.