The Strokes :: "Angles For The Young" [An Alternate Proposal]

Could New York's most darling band have combined their front man's solo record and their most recent LP and started saving their legacy? The band plays a sold-out Madison Square Garden this evening.

The collective anticipation for the latest Strokes LP Angles was followed by a group exhale riddled with the disappointing notes of a sigh. This wasn't what we wanted, especially the latter half of the album. These emotions were quickly ratified by a series of editorial pieces about the record, most of which refused to even address its musical content, choosing to focus on the methodology of the album making. All criticism distilled down to the functional reality that the Strokes tried to make a more equitable song writing process and had essentially failed. Barbs were traded. Casablancas is a dictator. These other guys are schlubs. Hammond was on drugs and then in rehab. Casablancas finally copped to the need to make a fifth Strokes LP as quickly as possible, either an ode to how comparatively mediocre Angles was or a need to finally escape the grip of the totalitarian five record deal the band has with RCA. But it didn't have to go this way did it? Or, at the very least, we can envision a different path for the band.

So for a moment, let us ride the counterfactual train into 2008 when the band could have taken some of Casablancas' ideas (and their reluctance to do drove him to make Phrazes), added a few of their own and made a record truly worth the wait. In essence, drop the filler off Angles and fill it with the most reasonable matches from Phrazes For The Young. After the jump, we give you, Angles For The Young, the Strokes album that never happened but maybe should have.

Angles For The Young [Tracklist]

1. Machu Picchu [Angles]
2. Out Of The Blue [Phrazes]
3. Under The Cover Of Darkness [Angles]
4. Left & Right In The Dark [Phrazes]
5. Two Kinds Of Happiness [Angles]
6. Taken For A Fool [Angles]
7. Ludlow St. [Phrazes]
8. Gratisfaction [Angles]
9. River Of Brakelights [Phrazes]
10. Glass [Phrazes]

It isn't perfect, but it is an interesting thought experiment. Unfortunately, there is no way to logically include "11th Dimension", one of the best Casablancas solo songs on a possible Strokes LP. It simply wouldn't sit stylistically. "Ludlow St." would even push the boundaries of what the hardcore fan base would tolerate and expect. I posit they could get away with the song because of its lyrical content and their specific geographic dominance of that same street in 2000 when they played the Mercury Lounge looked for the right label. "Glass" also tests the limits of a possible Strokes song for its electronic flourishes, but if you look at some of the Duran Duran influence they brought in on Angles, is it that far of a stretch to see them using out-and-out synths? The record would still have been front-heavy, barring the fun, Thin Lizzy inspired "Gratisfaction" and the thrashing "River Of Brakelights". Critically, it might still have gotten ripped, though for entirely different reasons than Angles got fed to the meat grinder. Still, it begs the question of each editorial piece that surrounds the band's current release: Will they work out their internal and structural problems? It starts with embracing the valencies of these diverse personalities. Maybe it starts with a record they never found the artistic imagination to make.


noah said...


You gotta stop talking to Tom; pretty soon you'll be posting about how union busting and pig farming lead directly to Kele's solo project.

BradIsMyHomeboy said...

Uh, it's no accident that Kele's album was called the boxer...the proletariat of the sports universe. I mean have you seen Rocky? Talk about a marxist trope....
Also I love counterfactuals. Way to go. Next I would like to hear how Chinese Democracy would have turned out if Axl had been booted for Cobain.