Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #91 The Strokes
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#91 The Strokes
We were hesitant to put The Strokes and Interpol right next to each other on our countdown - two acts, both from New York City, that revived their own portion of rock and roll. But while Interpol revived the complex, atmospheric spirit of post-punk, The Strokes saved the part of rock and roll that kicks your ass and makes no apologies. Think Iggy Pop; think The Ramones; think any seminal act that doesn't really give a fuck - they just play music.
In fact, The Strokes pretty much followed the archetypal path to superstardom. Before they ever released their debut full-length, they toured the UK - twice - on the strength of a three song EP. The buzz pooled up around their feet, and that buzz became a flood of recognition that rushed them along the path of fame. I remember when Is This It came out, I didn't own a copy for three months. I didn't have to - it was playing in my friend's cars, their homes, at the events on my campus at the time, everywhere. I heard that album three times a week, and when I finally bought it, my brother - who listens exclusively to top 40 hip hop - nabbed it on a family visit and smuggled it back home to Boston. (At least I have a sneaking suspicion that's where it went.) This was what we needed at the time: a band that was fucking everywhere and also deserved to be everywhere. Both on their recorded material and in concert, The Strokes steamrolled through a particular unmatched brand of rock that became larger than itself. It was a gracious steamroller, but crushing nevertheless, and one that could not be stopped. Two more releases later - Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth - and The Strokes solidified themselves as a name that eclipsed, in influence and iconic appeal, even the music they made. These are rock and roll stars through-and-through, and in a swarm of overhyped, forgettable media darlings, The Strokes had a raw and real attitude that left an undeniable mark on the rock and roll scene - for the 2000s and beyond.