Goodbye White Stripes, Hello Again Strokes

Despite my header, my mother always told me to start with the good news first, so let’s talk about the new album release from my teenage dream band (okay, everyone’s teenage dream band), The Strokes. The rumor swirled for a while that there was new Strokes on the horizon for 2011- did Julian ever confirm that officially last year? I can’t remember, but anyway, Pitchfork informs us that the new album Angles drops March 22nd and the first single is called “Under Cover of Darkness” (tracklisting at the link as well).


I’m trying to remember how I felt about the Strokes in 2006, call back those dizzy-headed feelings for rock songs where dancing was appropriate, but the sort of dancing where you swayed your shoulders to the left and right lackadaisically, and there wasn’t enough room on the  floor for more than that anyway. I remember being kicked in the head by a crowd-surfer for the Strokes in 2006, back in New York, when I was still an undergraduate and I was halfway back from the stage and Julian was wearing a leather jacket and singing “I don’t wanna waaaste my time” in that peculiar half-sleepy intonation. Strokes songs always sound like they are pressing down on his voice trying to make him be quiet, maybe because they were having so much fun before the record started drinking in some seedy Brooklyn bar. It’s actually really easy to envy the Strokes for the seemingly natural looseness, it benefits their tracks so greatly that the songs never overreach themselves past four minutes, or in any sense. You are jumping up and down for the right amount of time. The grooves are comfortable. Let’s hope the upcoming record holds to a good groove too.

The Strokes – Someday

When we was young oh man did we have fun / Always, always

Yesterday it was all over the music blogosphere: WHITE STRIPES CALL IT QUITS. When I first heard, it wasn’t a DELUGE OF EMOTION that resulted or anything. I let it settle for a few hours.

If you go to the official White Stripes website right now, you will be greeted with this message:

It really doesn’t come as a massive shock. Actually, it makes a lot of sense given the myriad of “side” projects that eventually brought a sense of extremity to the White Stripes. A door has closed now, for us and them. I can’t help but feel bummed (though I feel the whole process to be done with class and like I said, it’s not shocking), solely for the fact that we won’t get any new material from them- they could be counted upon to revitalize the rock scene with every new release and the rock scene does need revitalizing.

I am really interested to read commentary on the White Stripes’ place in music from this new position of retrospect in the weeks and months (and years) to come. Right now, my thoughts are along the lines that their worth doesn’t come from doing anything groundbreaking. Their situation was quite the opposite- they did not shape and influence other rock outfits that were their contemporaries. They may have popped out from the rest of the pack as zany red-black-and-white outsiders with vintage hearts on their sleeves, but the White Stripes were the influenced, not the influences. They offered a rich messy vigorous churning of the roots that formed more traditional rock n’roll outfits, roots that seemed distant from contemporary single-oriented rock radio.

It’s true though, that for me never did sloppy-seeming, raw from-the-garage energy have such impeccable results. There was such unique spirit there- old-fashioned showmanship, but with a modern-era vitality. Oh man, Jack and Meg, keep on keeping well.

White Stripes – Blue Orchid

White Stripes – The Hardest Button To Button


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