The seventh album from The Strokes is the perfect album for self-isolating in the sun. It’s fun, summery, and is rich in the exact kind of nostalgia we are craving in these abnormal times.
The album’s first single “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus” is a triumphant return to The Strokes’ signature indie nostalgic sound. It looks back to 80s pop and Julian Casablancas asks us: “And the Eighties bands, where did they go?” It’s this kind of nostalgia that is so perfect for the days where we are suck in our gardens or on our balconies. It’s a nostalgia that looks back to summer when we were hanging out with our friends and listening to the 80s indie tunes. This time around, Casablancas sings: “I want new friends, but they don’t want me.” The album may have been recorded long before the pandemic, but the nostalgic loneliness captured couldn’t be better timed.3
“Bad Decisions” is a simple song that sums up everything that The Strokes get right. The guitars are melodic and upbeat while the lyrics are somewhat bleak. Although Casablancas sings about 1970s Soviet Russia, the tone of the track is still relatable. This is why The Strokes successfully captivate such a wide audience. There is a simplicity and lack of pretense to their music that seems to resonate with mums and their teenage boys alike.
There are several other gems on the album. The closing track “Ode To The Mets” is a confident ending. The penultimate track, “Not The Same Anymore” fires shots at everybody. At first, it seems Casablancas is criticizing a lover only as the song progresses, he turns the blame inward. He candidly confesses: “And now it’s time to show up / Late again, I can’t grow up.”
All in all, The New Abnormal is a throwback album in more ways than one. It nostalgically looks back at the years when indie-rock was at its peak while also sharing the band’s more intimate reflection on their glory days. What sets the album aside is that the nostalgia is not too melancholic. It is the perfect balance between dreamy nostalgia and upbeat summer tunes. Essentially, while we come to terms with the new abnormal, this is the album we want to be listening to.