‘Is This It’ a stroke of genius I’m sad to have missed for so long

As much as I love music, I’m not always the best at keeping up with it. I assumed my friends’ deadpan recitations of the lyrics to “Tik Tok” were nothing more than an elaborate and confusing inside joke for weeks, and I only just found out that Grace Potter and the Nocturnals isn’t, in fact, a wizrock band in the vein of Draco and the Malfoys or The Whomping Willows.

So when I found out that hit indie rockers The Strokes were soon to be releasing their fourth album “Angles,” it gave me the boost I needed to hop into their back catalog. Perennial visitors to my Pandora station devoted to The Killers, I’d heard their music before and liked it, but had never made the jump to actually getting an album.

I’m so glad I finally did. I started with their debut, the punctuation-challenged “Is This It.” As soon as I was done listening to the opening title track, I thought they might be something special, and by the end, I knew it.

Deceptively simple, the album simply explodes with vivacity. Every song makes you want to dance, and maybe even sing along, regardless of who’s watching. Case in point: that familiar-looking kid you saw on the Raynor Library’s Bridge on Sunday trying not to rock out in his chair? That was me.

I’m not the only one who loved “Is This It.” When it was released in 2001, no less than six major publications named it the best album of the year, and it was in the upper sections of numerous other publications’ lists. Don’t think it was just a flash in the pan though — in 2009, Rolling Stone declared it the second best album of the decade, losing out only to Radiohead’s “Kid A.”

“Angles” comes out in a month, and rumor has it the album recalls their debut effort. If that’s the case, I’ll be writing their praises in broader strokes come March, when I’m actually in tune with the musical world for a change.

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