To much anticipation, The Strokes dropped their sixth studio album The New Abnormal (RCA Records), which is their first new album in seven years. The New Abnormal is a nine-track album produced by Rick Rubin (Linkin Park, The Smashing Pumpkins, Adele) that was recorded in Malibu and Hawaii. The new project features bouncy synth keys, electrifying guitar riffs from both Albert Hammond Jr and Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture’s tight bass licks, snappy drums from Fabrizio Moretti and frontman Julian Casablancas’ wide-ranging falsetto vocals. Since February, The Strokes have been teasing fans with new tracks from the album, including their keyboard dominated track “At the Door” and “Bad Decisions”, the latter which has a Modern English vibe and the same rhythm as Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” that was similar to the point that they even gave him song credit on the album. Idol isn’t the only throwback artist with a songwriting credit on The New Abnormal, as Richard and Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs were enlisted to co-write the song “Eternal Summer”.
The New Abnormal really draws post-80s British new wave, which makes it a fun and dance-able album. The New Abnormal kicks off with “The Adults Are Talking” that flourishes with effortless vocals from Casablancas and riveting guitar hooks that transcend to the song “Selfless”. The seventh song on the album, “Why Are Sundays So Depressing” is stripped back, consumed with strong heavy drumming and strumming as the lyrics ring sentimental of a simpler outlook on life before fame altered expectations. The last two tracks “Not The Same Anymore”, and “Ode To The Mets” are down-tempo, ambient, spacey, and solemn with the former lyrically expressing guilt and remorse for mis-handling past relationships while the latter gets sentimental over the band’s history together. Overall, The New Abnormal is a fresh, mature and catchy, while getting nostalgic at times that anyone can connect with upon reflecting on their life. The Strokes have been teasing The New Abnormal with their songs in a few live performances over the past year such as Governor’s Ball, New Year’s Eve show, and a recent Bernie Sanders rally. It may have taken seven years to put out new music, but fans will find an older and wiser version of The Strokes who haven’t lost their touch in putting out memorable music.