Old Favourites: The Strokes – “Reptilia”

“The room is on fire, as she’s fixing her hair…”

By 2003, The Strokes were very much on my radar. I’d taken notice with the now-infamous video for Last Nite, but had more or less no idea what was going on in terms of their greater impact. Hell, I was in the fifth grade – can you blame me? By the time I hit high school, I naively wondered into Room on Fire, their second studio album which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in October. I realise that it’s a very disregarded and marred album now, but because it was my first full-on Strokes moment, I treasure that record. I know every word to every song. Hell, I know every last melody – I even have harmonies for them. As I see those same fans that adored them around this time turn their collective backs to the band’s latest record, Comedown Machine, I’ve returned to this era to see what I could find.

Rather than go with the Tron-aping clip for 12:51, I’ve decided to take a look at the album’s second single – overlooked at the time, but has grown in recognition over the years thanks to Guitar Hero and the like. The video is an up-close-and-personal look at the band members – and that’s not a metaphor. These here are what Wayne and Garth would have described as “extreme close-ups” (WOAHHHHH!). I loved this, as it showed exactly what each member contributed. Watching both guitars and the bass at the same time in the “chorus” of the song is spellbinding stuff. I also love Albert Hammond, Jr. shaking violently before the second verse starts up; not to mention Julian Casablancas screaming and going all bug-eyed on us. Brilliantly edited and effortlessly cool – the latter of which has basically become a Strokes calling card.

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