Back in the long gone days of 2001 I kept up regularly with the music press, I’d had a subscription to NME at the newsagents which meant every week I’d pop across and collect a copy that had been put aside and all my issues subsequently had my surname scrawled in biro on the top – do they still do that? I’d regularly pick up a copy of Q magazine and more specific magazines like Total Guitar. It wouldn’t be unknown to see me picking up a copy of metal magazine Kerrang.
What sticks with me from those days is the buzz and the hype that preceded the Strokes first release “Is this it”. At a time when pop was riding high there was word of an awe inspiring indie band from the states ready to topple the cheesy hit makers of S Club 7. Sneak peak listens to tracks, articles relating how great the band were, secret preview gigs. I can’t remember exactly but there were whisperings of them being one the best acts in the history of the world – or at least that’s how the hype felt. The NME seemed to be leading this, the band seemed in some ways NME’s baby – their new poster group, and they gave away a free MP3 download of “Last nite” just prior to it’s release.
It’s a great track, from a great band, who released a great debut album in “Is this it” and everyone loved it – you heard it everywhere. I don’t recall going to a local gig at the time where a band didn’t play the track.
However the hype spoilt it for me – I loved the album but it never felt like it quite reached the heights that the buzz had me anticipating. I’m sure many people know how it feels, when you finally get around to seeing that much fêted film and even though you enjoy it, you just didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else did. You learn to try and temper your expectations in situations like that as it’s so easy to get disappointed. It’s easy to actually really enjoy something and yet still be unsatisfied by it.
That is where I was at with “This is it” for such a long time, I listened to it a lot at the time, I enjoyed listening to it, yet it always had the taint of not quite being as good as expected. Which when I type it sounds daft, but is true.
But I reckon I’m passed that finally, and even in the intervening period of reconciling my expectations this track would always catch my attention with it’s opening bars, it’s punchy guitar followed in by the drums as gradually the music kicks in. Sometimes a track does make you forget the constructs you’ve built around it and you just enjoy it.