Here in the dog days of quarantine, it’s tough to find new things to do. I mean, there are only so many times I can watch the Office and Supernatural. Luckily for us, The Strokes came out of their seven-year hiatus and released The New Abnormal on April 9th. The album is nine tracks and runs for 45 minutes. In typical Strokes fashion, The New Abnormal is unlike anything they’ve released so far.
So, as the resident Strokes fanboy of Side Spin Media, I decided to give The New Abnormal a listen. First, I will break down each track. Then, I will give it a rating. The rating scale is 1-5 spins, five being the highest spins the album can achieve. Shout out to the Source and their five mics—enough talking. Let’s dig into The New Abnormal.
1. The Adults Are Talking
As the opening track, The Adults Are Talking sets the mood for what The New Abnormal is all about. Immediately, this album feels like a blend of Room on Fire, with a sprinkle of Comedown Machine. However, The New Abnormal still manages to feel new from the Strokes. No worries, though, the vibe is always nice and mellow. It’s vintage Strokes.
Selfless is reminiscent of Chances (Comedown Machine) and Under Control (Room on Fire). As stated already, though, the song still feels new. Julian seamlessly moves in and out of his falsetto throughout the song. It’s become evident that Julian is using The New Abnormal to show the growth of his vocal range.
3. Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus
This song has a very 80’s feel. Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus is unlike any song I’ve ever heard from the Strokes. The closest I can recall is the album Angles. The song quickly moves from the quintessential 80’s sound to that perfect Strokes pocket. Then, without missing a beat, the song is right back to that 80’s feel. These smooth and clean transitions are not something the Strokes are known for. I like it!
4. Bad Decisions
Bad Decisions is one of the singles of The New Abnormal. If any song shows the growth of the group, it’s this one. The song reminds you of Is This It, especially the bassline, but it feels elevated. You can feel how far The Strokes have all come as musicians. Julian, Nick, Albert, Nikolai, and Fab are having fun again as well.
5. Eternal Summer
In Eternal Summer, Julian again shows off the mastery of his falsetto. In the beginning, Julian in falsetto sounded a bit choppy and uncomfortable. Now, he effortlessly hits those notes and sounds fantastic doing so. Perfectly complementing the voice of Julian is the lead and rhythm guitars of Nick and Albert. The three create a beautiful harmony with voice and strings.
6. At The Door
At The door is another track off The New Abnormal with a very 80’s feel. By this point in the album, the band seems to be enjoying their new exploration of sound. The Strokes have this unique ability to sound different on every album they release. Still, I can always tell it’s the Strokes when I hear it. They successfully cater to fans who have been there from the start while still attracting new fans.
7. Why Are Sundays So Depressing
The bassline in this song takes you back to Is This It. A lot of the success of The Strokes debut album came from the powerful basslines of Nikolai, which he displays again on Why Are Sundays So Depressing. Nick and Albert sit in this perfect pocket of lead and rhythm guitar, which they show throughout all of The New Abnormal. For instance, this song highlights their camaraderie as guitarists.
8. Not The Same Anymore
Lyrically, Not The Same Anymore is my favorite track on The New Abnormal. It’s not talked about often, but Julian is a phenomenal songwriter. For instance, he writes:
And now it’s time to show up
Late again, I can’t grow up
And now it’s on me, they’ve given up
Julian continues to grow in his lyrics. As a songwriter, he is very underrated, and The New Abnormal is some of his best work yet.
9. Ode To The Mets
On the final track of The New Abnormal, the vibes remind me of Instant Crush—expect the falsetto is missing. In conclusion, the band slams home a single point. The point is that they have grown. While it’s apparent that they are enjoying making music once more, The Strokes also prove that they’re not a one-trick pony. Ode To The Mets is the perfect ending.
Above all, I enjoyed this album! I would not say this is the best album in their catalog, but I was not disappointed either. Of all their records so far, it’s the first time I’ve heard The Strokes stick with a single song throughout. It was refreshing to hear. If this is the last we hear from The Strokes, The New Abnormal is a worthy final act. So, I’m giving The New Abnormal 4 out of 5 spins. It’s not perfect, but it’s close.