The Strokes: The New Abnormal Album Review

The Strokes, a beloved band from New York City, recently emerged from a seven-year hiatus with their sixth album, “The New Abnormal.” Fans rejoiced as Julian Casablancas, the lead vocalist, announced their comeback at a New Year’s Eve show in Brooklyn. Anticipation ran high, hoping for a revival of the band’s distinctive sound that once defined an era. However, as the album unravels, it becomes apparent that “The New Abnormal” may not live up to its promising title.

The New Abnormal Album Overview

“The New Abnormal” embodies a sense of sluggishness and subtlety that deviates from the band’s energetic past. The album feels slight, lacking the robustness that characterized The Strokes’ earlier work. Hooks that could have been fresh are instead familiar, with tracks like “Bad Decisions” and “Eternal Summer” borrowing heavily from ’80s hits like Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” and Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You.”

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Track Analysis

The album’s diverse tracks present a mixed bag of experiences. The loungey, drum-less ballads, such as “Ask Me Anything” and “Call Me Back,” offer a change of pace but lack the emotional depth of their predecessors. Meanwhile, the proggy, metallic undertones, possibly influenced by Casablancas’ involvement with Voidz, struggle to find their place within The Strokes’ repertoire.

Production and Instrumentation

The album’s production, led by the legendary Rick Rubin, bears mixed results. Rubin’s presence feels symbolic rather than transformative, as the band’s signature sound gets relegated to the background. The instrumentation lacks the tightness and classic songcraft that once made The Strokes stand out. The album’s mood pieces, often hovering around the five-minute mark, fizzle out without leaving a lasting impact.

Songwriting and Lyrics

Casablancas’ songwriting attempts to incorporate political and societal themes, such as the climate crisis and body image issues, but falls short of igniting a sense of urgency. Lyrics like “Eternal Summer” and “Selfless” fail to inspire resonance among the band members. Disjointed transitions, like those found in “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus” and “Selfless,” disrupt the album’s flow and cohesion.

Vocal Performance

Casablancas’ falsetto exhibits improvement, resulting in notable moments like the sleek verses in “Eternal Summer.” However, his vocal prowess fades as the album progresses. The variance in his performances, from the Sinatra-esque croon in “Not the Same Anymore” to the pop-punk sneer in “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus,” showcases his range but contributes to the album’s lack of sonic consistency.

Comparisons and Influences

While The Strokes have historically incorporated references and influences into their music, “The New Abnormal” occasionally crosses the line between homage and mimicry. The album’s echoes of ’80s hits and the blending of various genres reflect the band’s willingness to experiment but at times hinder their ability to create something truly unique.

Emotional Impact

The album’s moments of promise, such as “Ode to the Mets,” provide glimpses of The Strokes’ potential to capture emotion. However, these moments are fleeting, overshadowed by a prevailing sense of weariness. “The New Abnormal” captures a band that is neither ready to fade away nor fully primed for a triumphant comeback.

Target Audience

“The New Abnormal” may resonate most strongly with die-hard Strokes fans who appreciate the band’s evolution and the nuanced exploration of their musical identity. However, casual listeners may find themselves yearning for the infectious energy and immediacy of The Strokes’ earlier work.


The album’s shortcomings are evident in its lack of cohesion and direction. The disjunction between tracks and the inability to seamlessly weave together different elements result in a listening experience that feels disjointed and unfulfilling. The ambitious experimentation, while commendable, sometimes overshadows the band’s ability to deliver consistently engaging music.

Personal Insights

“The New Abnormal” captures a band that is still searching for its place within the modern music landscape. As an ardent fan, it’s disappointing to witness The Strokes’ struggles to recapture the magic of their earlier days. The album’s title teases a new beginning, yet it ultimately leaves us yearning for more, aching for the vibrant energy that once defined their sound.


In wrapping up the exploration of “The New Abnormal,” it’s clear that The Strokes are caught in a state of transition. The album’s sluggishness and lack of impact may not entirely resonate with long-time fans or newcomers. While it offers glimpses of promise and hints at potential directions, it remains a fragmented representation of a band grappling with its past and seeking a path forward.

As listeners, we hold onto the hope that The Strokes will navigate these uncertain waters and find their way back to creating music that resonates deeply. “The New Abnormal” serves as a testament to their ongoing journey, reminding us that even in moments of exhaustion and uncertainty, the essence of The Strokes’ artistry continues to flicker, waiting to be rekindled.


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