Friday, Dec. 21, 2001

Is This It by The Strokes

It's impossible to listen to this album without noting all the '70s punk/pop acts being ripped off left and right. It's also impossible to resist nodding your head and singing along. The Strokes may be derivative — of the Velvet Underground, Television, David Bowie and many others — but to borrow a phrase from Courtney Love, they fake it so real, they are beyond fake. Is This It is full of great guitar hooks, dry pop lyrics ("Alone we stand, together we fall apart /I think I'll be all right") and old-fashioned rock-'n'-roll attitude. Lead singer Julian Casablancas, 23, is in the middle of it all, radiating a stylish, premature weariness that no doubt makes his dad, Elite modeling kingpin John Casablancas, a proud papa. Who cares if the Strokes didn't invent their sound, as long as they perfected it?