The Strokes were SNL’s musical guest for S46:E5 with John Mulaney hosting (the fastest to 4 host gigs…ever?!?!). They are known as a garage rock band or a post-punk revival band, but the sets they featured made me think of an 80’s electronic rock band. I’m not sure who jilted The Strokes, but they played 2 songs about lost love and really, it seemed like just 1 long song with a comedy break in between.
The Adults Are Talking
Leading off was a new track, The Adults are Talking. Heavy in the electronica this song really brought Julian Casablancasvocals to the forefront. Mellow at first, The Strokes deftly build until they reach a crescendo with the climax of the song. Allowing their front man to be just that, the front and the sound for the band as he belts out the finale.
Another new track, Bad Decisions, was the bands second set. If the band’s sound doesn’t take you back to the 80’s then they certainly did with their look on Halloween night. Not to mention the background screen showing an 80’s Tron style grids. Casablancas’ vocals again take center stage here backed by simple rhythms which are faithfully pushed out by his bandmates.
Of course, I’ve heard of The Strokes before their SNL sets. Who hasn’t heard Last Night & Someday, but, admittedly, I have not followed their career. Social media lit up after their set with the fans split about the performance. You often find this with bands who’ve been around a long time. Fans that have been around from the beginning often don’t want to see a band grow or change. The 2 songs that they featured clearly were chosen to boost the profile for their newly released, Rick Rubin produced, LP, The New Abnormal. While I’m in favor of pushing your new material, this definitely seems like a departure from their prior hits.