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The Strokes – The Modern Age (71)

December 13, 2009

“Rock Is Back!” screams the compilation album sitting before me. Released by Rolling Stone and sponsered by a jeans company, it bulges with bands signed by major labels desperately trying to sign their own Strokes.

That rock was back was news to the likes of the Living End, who might have quietly pointed out they were a popular going concern years before the headline writers got in a tizz about guitars. In fact they are still a going concern, unlike most of the rest of the bands on the compilation. In a couple of years, the rock bubble burst, and the excitement moved to the UK.

For their part, the Strokes have been trying to record a new album in the dying days of a decade they were tipped to dominant following the release of “Is This It”.  For various reasons it never happened. I can remember walking into the radio studio on the morning of September the 12th, 2001 (Australian time), just New York City Cops came on air, the programming decision of a young announcer in whose defence was in the same sense of shock as the rest of us.

A changed world aside, the rock market was soon crowded and every new band was the next big thing. By the time of their second album, the pack had gained on the Strokes. By mid-decade rock meant the White Stripes, and a cheeky new wave from Britain. Meanwhile the Kings of Leon became what the Strokes were tipped to become.

In retrospect the Strokes were painted as rock’s messiah, but in truth they merely released one of the best albums of the decade. People had just been looking in other directions, until the Strokes turned their heads. Such heads are easy to turn again, and soon the moment passed.

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