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4.0 out of 5 stars
First Impressions Of Earth
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2006
As I'm typing, it's early in the morning, so in the UK the new Strokes album has officially been released. Already, I've seen critics dismiss this album as "average" and many have claimed The Strokes have put very little effort into the album and they're just not bothered anymore. I've had a copy of the album for around a month now and I'm going to share my opinion of the album, this review is coming from someone who has had the time to fully analyze the album, not from some small time music journalist who has given it a quick listen and dismissed it as "rubbish". One thing many Strokes fans will notice right from the very first track is there's no longer any use of distortion on the vocals.
Anyway, this album took 9 months in the studio with a new producer, David Kahne, which has helped them take a side-step in sound, whilst retaining their classic sound. The album is a big change in style, but you can still recognize the good ol' Strokes.
The first song on the album 'You Only Live Once' is probably the best intro track they could have chosen. It is one of the most catchy tracks on FIOE with its memorable riff and bouncy vocals. 4.5/5
Juicebox, the first single from FIOE is in my opinion, one of the "worst" tracks on the album. I'm not saying it's a bad song, in fact, I love it but, there are many more suitable potential singles on the album which would have been more suitable for commercial radio. I'm sure you've all heard this song and can make up your own minds on what you think of it. 4/5
Heart In A Cage, their second single and also one of the heaviests songs on the album. In my opinion, this is a great song and sounds like a vintage Strokes track, as it is recycled from ROF. 5/5
Razorblade, infamous for "ripping off" the catch from Barry Mannilow's 'Mandy'. 'Tis a brilliant song, with a catchy 12:51 esque keyboard riff. 4/5
Vision of Division is absolute genius. A great riff with a Mid-Eastern SOAD influenced guitar solo half-way through. After reading the title and the lyrics booklet, I actually realized that this song is a conversation, which explains why Julian tends to repeat verses. One of the strongest tracks on the album. 5/5
Ask me anything, is shrouded in controversy and it's unlike anything The Strokes have ever done. Many people believe this track should be nothing more than a B-side, however, I think it's great. Albert plays a melatron, along to Julian's cool vocals and guess what? There aren't any guitars or drums!!! 4/5
Electricityscape borrows a similar sound from Vision of Division and also sounds very Middle-Eastern. Another one of the heavier tracks. 4.5/5
15 minutes, is a wonderful track, but like "On The Other Side" it's a grower and the track is relatively weak throughout the first couple of minutes and only gets to full strength towards the end of the song, which is dissapointing, as I feel this track could have been a standout if it weren't for the boring intro.
Ize of the world has a fabulous ending which causes many people to question whether their disc has a fault or not. No, don't worry, there's nothing wrong with your disc at all. Opens with some random guitar noises and is relatively heavy throughout. The lyrics in this song are amazing and also, there is a solo half-way through that sounds like an ice cream van! How cool is that?
Evening Sun feels a bit strange following such a heavy track, but is still a great song, takes a few listens to get into, but it's now one of my faves. 4.5/5
Red Light is one of the best tracks on the album and is a great way to end such a fantastic record. 5/5
So, there you go. That's just what I think of the album, I wasn't very descriptive with my review but I didn't want to spoil too much. All I can say is that this album is just as good as Is This It and Room On Fire, if not better. Also, this album is roughly an hour long. The special edition of the album comes in nice carboard packaging with an interchangeable sleeve which allows you to put a pic of one of the band members on the cover, which is a good enough reason to buy the album if you ask me!
If you don't like what you've heard about this album but you've enjoyed The Strokes previous work, please give this album a chance. Thank you for reading my review and I hope you have found it helpful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2006
With their first album (Is This It), the Strokes showed that they could produce an album of amazingly concise and brilliant 3-minute rock tracks.
While that was an amazing achievement, I felt that with their second album (Room on Fire) they showed that there was more to them, with Julian Casablancas developing a more melodic, rambling sound that showed that they wanted to develop beyond what had gone before. I never understood the negative comments about the album, for me it was more complex and more of a grower than the first one - after about 10 listens I suddenly 'got it' and was bowled over. It is now probably the album that I have listened to more times than any other in my collection.
With this third album, Casablancas et al show that they have the confidence to ignore the people that are complaining that they don't 'get it' within 2 minutes, and develop yet further. As on the previous album, I found that the singles were not my favourite tracks at all, a couple of my favourites being 'You Only Live Once' and 'Killing Lies' - I am just bowled over by the amazing vocal talent on the album that just oozes confidence. I also love the rambling style of bizarre musings - for example in 'On the Other Side' when Jules just goes off on a long and carefully measured rant about how he is tired of everyone he knows and 'hates them all'!
All in all, this is a masterpiece - listen to it 10 times before you make a decision!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2006
The wait for this album since room on fire has definatly been worth it. Unlike is this it and room on fire the running time is 52 minutes, thats like the old 2 albums put together. On first listen a few of the tracks stood out. Everyone will love track1, its pure strokes brilliance. Everyone knows Juicebox, its awesome in my opinion, completely different from the strokes old material. And I think that sums up a lot of this album, they've tried a lot of new things and its payed off superbly.
Since i've listened to the album a good few more times, i'm addicted, just like I was with is this it and room on fire. And i'm sure you will be too, buy it! And hey the delux album version is very cool, you get all the lyrics and a chioce of 6 covers for your album, put your favorite band member on there! Enjoy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2006
To begin with, I was the opposite of the critics - 'Is This it?' was hailed as a masterpiece, and the follow up 'Room On Fire'was accused of being too 'samey'. I got room on fire first, and loved it, but when I got is this it, I was majorly dissapointed. When I heard this was being released, I was apprehensive. I had heard 'Juicebox' and was still undecided. However, I bought it nonetheless on the day it came out, and was instantly blown away by You Only Live Once. After this however, The album petered out, and again I was dissapointed.
I managed to get tickets to see the Strokes live in Manchester, and so before I went I routed out the two older albums and familiarised myself with the songs on them. Is This It grew on me, and I absolutly love it - the same for room on fire. First Impressions has done the same. It has a noticable, if yet difficult to place, difference to the other two albums, and that is why I was so unsure to begin with. However, after my second full listen, I loved it. You Only Live Once and Heart In A Cage particularly stand out.
It is a fantastic album, but has to be listened to more than once to be fully appreciated.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2006
For some bizarre reason, critics have not taken "First Impressions..." to their hearts. I don't have the first clue why. And there are 14 songs which provide 14 reasons why this album proves The Strokes are living legends.
The main thing that has struck me about reviews is the criticism that Julian Casablancas' songwriting has taken. I have read that his lyrics are "meaningless", "incoherent" and "not understandable". Well, this is utter rubbish. Lyrically, this album proves that Casablancas is truly in the highest echelon of wordsmith geniuses. If one song had to be picked out to prove this, it is certainly "Ize of the World". A genius link between title and lyrics, this not only provides wonderfully inspirational vocals from Casablancas, but (as much as NME writers and readers would say The Strokes are too cool to do politics) also has political undertones inherent throughout the album, proving that The Strokes have taken up some responsibility as artists since their "Is This It?" days. This song has to be heard to be truly believed. Each word is filled with meaning and delivered with passion and is Casablancas' bitter tirade against the sickness of the modern world. A truly incredible, inspirational song. Further political undertones and disenchantment with the modern world can also be found in "Ask Me Anything" in a line which a well-known magazine unbelievably dismissed as having no meaning ("Harmless children, we named our soldiers after you"). Also, Red Light expresses the disgust at, "...an enitre generation that has nothing to say".
The genius lyrics aside, this is an incredible gift to the world in musical terms. The songs sound emphatic, well-worked and well-thought. To the well-listened ear, the guitar work is simply sublime on songs such as "Heart In A Cage" and "Visions of Divison" to name but two. The way that Albert Hammond Jr.'s sweet, almost bluesey guitars work side-by-side with the incredible rock and roll effects of Nick Valensi's now massive guitar sounds provides The Strokes with something truly unique.
"Ask Me Anything" sees Casablancas and Valensi their most inventive and creative peak. The deliverence of the heartfelt lyrics alongside the melotron sound is obviously a first for them. But it works beautifully.
In "15 Minutes", Julian's best impression of Shane McGowan gives way to exquisitely pacey guitars to create another showing the Strokes have come a long way since "Room on Fire".
If there is a weak point, it is probably "Razorblade", however this is still a very catchy song, despite it's continuous, and justified, link to Barry Manilow's "Mandy"!
Picking on each song is not worth the effort though. This is an album. Ignore the critics and buy this album and judge for yourself. To anyone with any interest in creative, artistic music, this album is absolutely incredible. "Ize of the World", for me personally, could quite simply become one of the very greatest songs ever. For anyone with a disgusted hatred for the things that sting the modern world, this song provides comfort in the fact that a true musical genius is on your side too.
With any sort of justice, this will become a classic. A cultural, musical and artistic masterpiece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2006
I read one review that said that this album had finally indicated that The Strokes' time was over. With the release of the Arctic Monkeys' debut, there was a new kid on the block, and The Strokes were now "dinosaurs".
I do hope the writer has (now he has had time to consider this) changed his mind. On first listening to this C.D. I must admit, I shared the view that it was not as great as anything else they had produced. But with typical Strokes style, this is a grower. I didn't even try too hard to like it. It just creeps up on you.
When you get tired of the hype surrounding the "New" sound of the Monkeys, revel in the delight of rediscovering the old masters.
The Strokes are back, and though it is not the same as "Is this it?", it is a more developed, more rounded, and more considered piece of work. Definitely heading in the right direction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Ive not really done this the right way round, this was the first strokes album i listened too properly. Its great! the first track is fantastic and juicebox is great even though it takes a while to get used to, and ask me anything makes interesting listening alongside the usual strokes sound. The rest of the tracks are equally great including the magnificant electriccityscape. After hearing this i went out and bought the other two albums, such is the strength of this album. I didnt buy the first album so cant appreciate its importance so therefore cannot fully appreciate the album but I still think first impressions is slicker, tuneful and better! Only reason it doesnt get a 5 is the fact that the end of the album is not quite as good as the start! all round extremly good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2006
Let's be honest, 'Room on Fire' wasnt a bad second album but after the awesome debut album 'Is This It' i couldnt help but feel slightly dissapointed. For me it was crucial for The Strokes to nail this album and thats exactly what they have done.
Casablancas has left behind the distorted vocals with exception of the Pougues like track 11 '15 minutes' and the group as a whole just seem to have come together and made for me what is undoubtably their best album to date.
Lyrically this album stands head and shoulders above the previous 2 Strokes records with Jules coming away with lines such as 'Don't be a coconut, God is trying to talk to you' & 'I hate myself for hating them, so i'll drink some more, i love them all, i'll drink even more'.
For me the stand out songs on this album are 'Juicebox' with the bass playing frantically along with Julians raspy vocals and the awesome 'On The Other Side' however this album is that packed full of classic songs that i could have easily picked any of the songs as my favourites.
As a Strokes fan i was very excited about the release of this album to see the direction The Strokes were going to take their music next and it was well worth the wait.
For me The Strokes have moved to the next level with 'First Impressions of Earth' and they have definately booked their place in the Indie hall of fame! Roll on Album no 4!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2010
I have just noticed that it has been said that FIOE slumps towards the end of the album..utter rubbish! Some of the best songs the Strokes have written are near the end of this album. "15 minutes" and "Ize of the world" in particular are two of my favourites,the reason for this..they are,in my opinion,pure genius! "15 minutes" slowly builds from a quiet melodic intro into a steaming display of incredible vocals,clever lyrics and guitar work that somehow,on the first listen,is impossible to fully take in!A real moment of genius from the strokes in my opinion. The intro creates the song..the crescendo to that finale would mean nothing without the slow start. It is certainly not "boring"!
The same goes for "Ize of the world". The display of vocal ability from casablancas is staggering..he is clearly pushing his voice all the way at several points during the song and is a real showcase of his talent. Also,the middle and ending parts of the song (whether these would be classed as the chorus i am not sure) is again a real moment of ingenuity by combining clever lyrics which show the perceptiveness of the band, with awesome guitar work that gives a real apocalyptic feel to the end of the album. All in all,dont knock it `til youve tried it..more than once! The album grows on you,and once it does,it has more of an impact on you and becomes a real firm favourite on the CD rack!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2006
It's difficult to know how to interpret the critical reception this album has recieved. Looking at the general consensus, I am taken quite aback at just how savage some of the reviews have been - it would seem the critics have got caught up in the Strokes bashing that is as fashionable these days as the Strokes themselves were when they first exploded onto the music scene. On the other hand, you could argue the Strokes have made a rod for their own back with their classic debut. If they could make an album that great first time out, why can't they do so again?
Having said that I think it's simply unfair to compare everything the Strokes do from now on to their universally acclaimed debut. In dissing 'First Impressions of Earth', its detractors have undervalued it, plain and simple. This album contans some of the finest material the band have produced to date, mostly in the first half of the album. It opens with an inspired triple opening salvo, where the cool swagger of 'You Only Live Once' and moody shuffle of 'Heart In A Cage' actually manage to trump the brilliant 'Juicebox'. And the lads hit upon a similar winning streak midway through with the storming 'Vision of Division', lovely 'Ask Me Anything' and euphoric 'Electricityscape'.
Admittedly they struggle to maintain the momentum in the latter stages: the likes of 'Killing Lies' and 'Evening Sun' are little more than pointless filler. But there's still some good stuff to maintain listener interest, most notably on the Killers-esque 'Ize of the World' and deliriously poppy album closer 'Red Light'.
In conclusion, then, 'First Impressions of Earth' isn't as good as 'Is This It'. But make no mistake - had an album of similar quality been released by, say, Franz Ferdinand (whose two albums to date consist of about three good songs each) then it would have been greeted with five star adulation across the board. For that reason alone, 'First Impressions...' is definitely worth checking out.
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