[21] The Strokes, ‘The Modern Age EP’

The Modern Age

This is what we wrote in 2008 [I’ve not come up with any new Strokes thoughts since, unsurprisingly]:

There was such a quaint furore about The Strokes those long seven years ago, loud voices on either side. Were they singlehandedly saving rawk? Were they arch-copyists, not an original note in their scuffy Converse? Did any of it really matter? Well, yes and no. A bit of debate keeps pop lively, but would the naysayers have been so quick to swipe if they’d known the day would come when every band and its wife would be ripping off The Libertines, and not the rather more plunderable Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Blondie, you-name-a-cool-NYC-trailblazer? The answer’s no.

Anyway, what Julian Casablancas and rich kid friends had in bags were tunes. On first listen, I thought ‘The Modern Age’ was The Velvet Underground – that’ll be Casablancas’ Lou Reed drawl – still it was a catchy little effort from the off. Studiedly cool, yep, but nevertheless, er, cool. ‘Last Nite’ was a white boy’s Motown pastiche even more authentic than Phil Collins’ flail at ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’.

But we don’t want them to get too chipper. Junior and I did the arm-pumping ‘Tiger Feet’ dance, one ‘70s influence The Strokes possibly wouldn’t want to snatch. Saying that, let’s see what the fourth album brings.

Back to 2010:

Junior says: Well, not a lot. She doesn’t have any fresh observations either. But she does teach her little sister how to play air guitar and together they fight an Aircaster duel.

Best bit: When Casablancas turns on the loudhailer.

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[2] The Human League, ‘Love Action (I Believe In Love)’

The Human League

Not a chart-topper like Oakey and Sulley’s “No, I’M in the driving seat” cocktail bar drama, but easily the most dense, intricate and balls-out inspired of Dare’s mega-hits, ‘Love Action’ is arguably (I’m arguing) the shimmering pinnacle of ‘80s synth-pop. How come? It’s packed to the rafters with electronic effects, boasts half a dozen different keyboard riffs – each digression as thrilling as the last – and there’s that beam-me-up ‘meoww’ sound at the start. All this, and it glories in a towering Big Phil rap that casts Lou Reed forever as “the old man”. And Susanne yelps “HARD times”, without sounding awkward for once.

Echoing her confusion at The Man Machine’s cover, Junior sees Phil’s slapped-up face on the front of Dare and asks, “Why’s he a she?” Lord knows what she’d have made of Boy George in autumn 1982. She and my old man could’ve exchanged unhip daddio jokes. The next puzzle is “Why’s he looking through a rectangle?”, and perhaps we’ll never know. Still, these obstacles negotiated, she pops her feet into her dad’s Converse and winds her body to the sci-fi disco.

This is Phil talking:

[3] The Strokes, ‘The Modern Age EP’

There was such a quaint furore about The Strokes those long seven years ago, loud voices on either side. Were they singlehandedly saving rawk? Were they arch-copyists, not an original note in their scuffy Converse? Did any of it really matter? Well, yes and no. A bit of debate keeps pop lively, but would the naysayers have been so quick to swipe if they’d known the day would come when every band and its wife would be ripping off The Libertines, and not the rather more plunderable Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Blondie, you-name-a-cool-NYC-trailblazer? The answer’s no.

Anyway, what Julian Casablancas and rich kid friends had in bags were tunes. On first listen, I thought ‘The Modern Age’ was The Velvet Underground – that’ll be Casablancas’ Lou Reed drawl – still it was a catchy little effort from the off. Studiedly cool, yep, but nevertheless, er, cool. ‘Last Nite’ was a white boy’s Motown pastiche even more authentic than Phil Collins’ flail at ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’.

But we don’t want them to get too chipper. Junior and I did the arm-pumping ‘Tiger Feet’ dance, one ‘70s influence The Strokes possibly wouldn’t want to snatch. Saying that, let’s see what the fourth album brings.