This is the kind of album I have a difficult time writing about: I don't love it but I don't hate it either. Perhaps I should stick with albums that I'm excited about and have a high likelihood of success for me, although then I'd miss out on some of the unexpected surprises I've had.
My experience with The Strokes' new album, "Angles", has coincided with the beginning of spring break in our house. When the kids were young, we made the sojourn to Florida each year. Although the drive was brutal with the squirmy little ones, once we got there we could settle into my in-laws' house and didn't have to worry about much (cooking, cleaning and entertainment, for instance).
As the kids got older, we became more adventurous, especially since I began to panic that the kids would think there wasn't civilization west of Rockford. We drove to Colorado and Arizona, those being even more brutal drives as the kids took up more space in the car, but worth it for the great memories we have of the trips.
Last year, we decided to stay home but have a fun Chicago spring break: a stay-cation! It turns out being a tourist in Chicago isn't cheap, but we justified it because it was still cheaper than going away. This year we're staying home again, but we're having trouble even calling it a stay-cation; we just aren't going anywhere.
If you have young kids, be warned that if they participate in spring sports during high school the calendar does not skip the week of spring break. Therefore, my three high schoolers are still busy with practices and meets and tournaments. It also seems like a good time to visit a few colleges with my junior daughter since my senior daughter is all set for next year (what were we thinking when we had our first two kids only 17 months apart?!?). While our friends and family are boarding cruise ships and jetting to sunny Arizona, my daughter and I hopped in the car and headed to Iowa where we froze our arses off during a 34-degree campus tour, all that being almost as fun as a real spring break.
Anyway, during the scenic 5-hour drive there and back, I spent some time with The Strokes (when we weren't driving in silence while my daughter did a practice ACT test). I would call myself a mild fan of The Strokes prior to this album, and I think that's still an accurate description. While there were some songs that I liked, some were just too psychedelic and weird for me, which probably just means I'm not cool enough to appreciate good alternative music.
I like songs that are different and quirky enough to stand out from everything else on the radio but not SO different that it's hard to connect with it. The song that is getting the most play (video below) is "Under Cover of Darkness", which is definitely one of my favorites from the album. Others I liked were "Machu Piccu", "Taken for a Fool" and "Call Me Back". Now that I think about it, I'm wondering if I just got rid of the two or three songs that I really don't like maybe I'd be feeling more favorable about the album overall.
If you're a hardcore Strokes fan, you're probably not reading this, but you'll probably also be buying (or have already bought) the entire album regardless of my opinion. If you're a casual fan like myself, be a bit cautious about where you plunk down your $1.29 per Strokes' song. In the meantime, enjoy the video for "Under Cover of Darkness" and have a great spring break, no matter what you're doing!