Just take a look at the track list for this: Frankie Rose, Peter, Bjorn & John, Heems, Deradoorian, Real Estate, Owen Pallett. It’s amazing artists covering an amazing album, and it is done fantastically. Is This It is one of the seminal albums of the 2000s, an album that inspired a generation and sticks with a generation. Seeing The Strokes open their set at the Sweetlife Festival in May with “Is This It” reminded me of the first time I ever heard the track on a CD somewhere. It had the same lasting effect, something that carried over to the entire album.
This tribute to Is This It showcases many songs in many different styles, but each style works. Frankie Rose’s “Soma” pulls back a little bit on the original, taking a little bit of the edge off the track. One of the coolest covers on the tribute is Owen Pallett’s magnificent orchestral take on “Hard To Explain,” a track that lends itself to his style perfectly. Of course, Pallett’s cover is right before Heems of Das Racist’s cover of “New York City Cops,” which invokes Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.”
My favorite take on The Strokes comes from New Jersey’s Real Estate, who take on “Barely Legal.” The boys pull the tempo back a little bit, allowing Martin Courtney’s vocals to waft over the shimmering guitars. It makes the song feel much, much more contemplative, like they are looking back over the 10 years of Is This It as opposed to just throwing down a cover at a party. The mp3 is down below, via Pitchfork.
Overall, STROKED is a must-have for anyone that had the Strokes play a part in their musical life, with a great variety of cool covers. Also, it doesn’t suck like the Nevermind tribute that SPIN put together.
Get STROKED from Stereogum here.