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The Critics Corner: Albums
Angles
The Strokes | Angles
Rock outfit returns to basics on fourth album
Name: Angles
Label: RCA
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Rating: 4.0 out of 5


Review written by: Ashley Rosenberg
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For their fourth studio album release, Angles, The Strokes experimented with some new sounds and brought us a new set of ten creative and unique tracks.  Since 1998, The Strokes have been combining keyboard, guitar, drums, and the unforgettable vocals of lead singer, Julian Casablancas to make a interesting mix of Indie, Punk, and Garage style music, carving out a very loyal fan base in the process.

The album starts off with an almost beachy electronic tune.  Machu Pichu is a catchy, synth song about trying to find a place in love.  He doesn't really love people because he thinks that they cannot love him.  It's an abstract look with a funky tune about learning to love and be loved.

Under Cover of Darkness is an energetic fast paced song set off by the guitar and drums.  It has some vintage sounding undertones with The Strokes' unique spin added to it.  The song seems to be about a friendship that has some enemies; in spite of all that has happened, they remain friends.  I love the guitar break in the song, it's unique and keeps the song rolling until its finish.

The guitar and keys in  Two Kinds of Happiness reminds me of synth eighties songs.  The chorus is illuminated by a drum sequence followed by a very energetic guitar riff.  The song is about levels of happiness and the music brings a sense of euphoria, further bringing the sense of the lyrics to life.

You're So Right is mainly synth and drums and is another song that reminds me of songs from the eighties.  This song is a very vague argument caused by real life stress.  The stress affects his relationship with her and all of the normal excuses come out: the office, not wanting to fight, not wanting to hurt her, and wanting to know what happened.  The transition from the office to the forest seems to be when the argument would get out of control, the start of irrational decisions and ample apologies once actions have been realized.

With a unique mix of synth, drums, and guitar to introduce the song, Taken for a Fool sings about naivete and the way that it shapes growing up and life.  This song seems to take it further as it seems like they are blaming the family unit for being naïve and causing people to grow up with warped outlooks on life and the inability to grow into a fully functioning, smart adult.

Games is a slower, eerie sounding synth song.  It kind of evokes a suspicious and on the edge feeling which is outlined by guitars, drums, and keyboards.  The song also seems to have taken inspiration from eighties music, though Casablancas' voice puts a fresh take to the song.  To me, this song is an opinion about society today.  The games being the way that society views people and the way that people are judged for different things.  When this happens, the world can seem like an empty and uncomfortable place.

After a slow, almost eerie simply introduction, Call Me Back hauntingly speeds up with delicately sharp music in contrast with soft voices.  Casablancas' voice is striking in this song as he almost tells instead of sings about waiting for a response he might not get and may not want.
slow, guitar,

Singing in higher notes about love only after dark, Gratisfaction is a song about a pair who only makes love and loves each other in secret.  She wants more than that, but he is pretty set to keep their relationship on the back burner.  When the sun comes up, the love does not exist.  In spite of it's dreary outlook on some realities of love, the song is very catchy and has some great guitar in it.

Metabolism is a creepy and unique song.  The mix of the lyrics and the music used to bring it to life expresses the desire of one person to be like someone else.  The intensity of Julian's voice paired with the growing pulse of the music brings the sense of need into the song.  The need to be someone else, the need to change from the way one already is into something perceived as more desirable.  It's very relatable and the dissatisfaction of self is clearly perceived throughout the song, coming through both musically and lyrically.

Though Life is Simple in the Moonlight is a very catchy song with beautifully unique guitar, the song itself is slightly disturbing.  They used to be together but now she is with an older man who reminds her more of her father than someone closer to her age.  He misses her and is watching her with this man.  She seems to have lost herself, but he wants her anyway.  Though this is not a song of regret, he does miss her and by the end seems to be going after her in some way.

I really liked the catchy beats and different uses of instruments on The Strokes newest album.  Although some of the songs brought me back to eighties songs, the band was able to put their own twist on the sound to bring their signatures into it.    This album had a great mix of eerie, slow, and energetic songs that kept the album flowing and interesting.  The sound is different from most of their earlier music, but the album still carries The Strokes' uniqueness and creativity. Their music is definitely unique and as such may not be of interest to every single music lover. I do think that everyone should broaden their music interests and give this album a listen anyway.

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