‘Hard to Explain’ This DecisionI may have mentioned in the past that I’m not a fan of end-of-year lists. I have to admit, though, NME has shown some pretty big balls by putting together not just an end-of-year list, but a list of the top 100 songs and albums of the decade.
Topping the album list was the Strokes’ 2001 debut, Is This It. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I know that over the past 10 years there have been plenty of disks I’ve liked more and listened to more. But there was an undeniable excitement around that first Strokes release. They grabbed all at once punk rock and garage rock, and added something uniquely new, something uniquely 21st century.
I think the Strokes were just starting to break when they made an early 2002 appearance on Saturday Night Live. I didn’t know much about the band at the time. I remember a co-worker telling me they were “like the Ramones.” Honestly, I think he formed that opinion based solely on the fact both bands came from NYC and wore Chuck Taylors. But I watched the SNL appearance and was mesmerized. I'm pretty sure I bought the CD the next morning. I wanted to believe they were going to be great and I wanted to feel the same excitement from their album as I felt with the Ramones. I was ready to drink the Kool-Aid.
Is This It, while a good, possibly even great, album, somehow didn’t and doesn’t get my nerve ends jangling like the raw blitz of, to go back to my co-worker’s comparison, the Ramones. Or the Stooges. Or the White Stripes. I like the Strokes, but I can’t see the fuss, nor can I agree with their album being the best release of the past 10 years.
Anyway, with that all said, tonight’s music is “Hard to Explain,” which was the Strokes’ first single and the second song they did that night on SNL. I love this song because of the sudden stop at about the two-minute mark. There’s a little bit of tension the first time you hear that, wondering where they’re going. I still get that feeling today, even though I know the song is barely half gone.
Hard to Explain.mp3