Run That Back: The Strokes' 'Is This It'

'Well, I've been in town for just about fifteen, oh, minutes now'
Nick Valensi, Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond, Jr., and Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes
Nick Valensi, Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond, Jr., and Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

The Run That Back series is a deep dive into some of music’s most popular or underrated projects. Whether it’s been 5 years or 50, there’s never a wrong time to ‘run that back.’

July 30, 2021 marks a full 20 years since the triumphant release of New York Indie rockers The Strokes' debut album Is This It, which shot the band consisting of singer Julian Casablancas, guitarists Nick Valensi, Albert Hammond, Jr., bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti into stardom in the early 2000s and solidified their place in the genres of Alternative and Rock for years to come.

Listen to your favorite Alternative music now on Audacy and check out our all-new Alterna 00s exclusive station

There's no denying the band's easy to sing along with hit, "Last Night," which remains a forever staple on Alt and Indie playlists. Originally on their 2001 The Modern Age EP, the track was included on the follow-up full-length released by RCA after a bidding war erupted among major labels. With help from constant live performances, Is This It went on to receive massive critical acclaim and incredible sales.

As prominent artists Beck and Noel Gallagher can attest, The Strokes were the only thing being talked about in the music industry at the time of their arrival. "Everybody I talked to in London," Beck recently explained to Apple Music, remembering his early '00s outing for Midnight Vultures, "'Strokes. Have you heard The Strokes, Strokes this,'" he says was all that was on people's minds.

Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher had a similar introduction. While touring the states, and hearing nothing but high praise, Oasis ended up in close proximity to where The Strokes were touring, so the guys drove out to see them perform. "There was literally 15 people there and there's all of us, Liam's in a parka," Noel explained. "I love that band. And that little period where them and the Kings of Leon came along, that was probably the last great hurrah for guitar music."

"Last Night" was actually offered as the second single for Is This It, preceded by the lead "Hard To Explain," and followed up strongly with their future fan-favorite "Someday."

Here's the full Is This It tracklisting:

Is This It
The Modern Age
Barely Legal
Alone, Together
Last Nite
Hard to Explain
New York City Cops (The US CD version has "When It Started")
Trying Your Luck
Take It or Leave It

20 years on, the band is showing no signs of slowing down. After taking a hiatus in the mid-'00s, the band now has side-projects galore, were on hand to help welcome live music back to their hometown of New York following the closure of venues due to the coronavirus, and singer Julian Casablancas recently threw out the first pitch at a New York Mets game.

All of this is perhaps eclipsed by the band's 2020 album The New Abnormal, which features their hit "Ode To The Mets", and won them their very first GRAMMY Award.

It should be mentioned, however, that Casablancas really "couldn't care less" about the band's biggest hit, telling The Times U.K. last year that he'd be just fine not playing "Last Night" or other old songs ever again. Good news for superstar Billie Eilish, who has named The New Abnormal one of her most beloved records of all time, saying “there is something about The Strokes, I don’t know what it is, man. I love ‘At The Door’, I love the melodies, I love the lyrics, I love everything about it. The Strokes hit a nerve."

Happy birthday, Is This It. Check out more album anniversaries right here on Audacy and while you're in a Strokes kinda mood today, be sure to listen to our all-new exclusive stations, like Alterna 00s, featuring The Strokes, The KillersWhite Stripes, and much, much more!

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