A Softness Thickened With Overhelming Intricacies – The Strokes: Comedown Machine

by Charissa Lock

A masquerade of fuzzy and quiet vocals, quick and sprinting melodies of guitars and synth provide a ruse to the trenches of provocative and sensible lyrics.  You could be two-stepping and finger snapping with never knowing the brilliant thoughts and intentions behind the vocals an instruments.  I fell to this error, jamming out and thinking things were decent with catchy moments.  Yet, after being recommended to check out the lyrics (let’s face it, trying to understand Julian Casablancas is like trying to make sense of Adele’s speaking voice) it was as if I just heard a whole new album.

The hooks, short verses, bridges and choruses are set up as small portions bringing you to the next destination, letting you off early, but always circling you back.  When you read the lyrics and simultaneously listen to each track, a wave of understanding and appreciation sets in.  Not only is the sep a flutter of enlightenment to the true nature of this albums capabilities, but the situations, stories and affections are a huge part of the The Stroke’s Comedown Machine’s character.  “80’s Comedown Machine” takes on a new layers of emotion when you truly submerge yourself into the slow tempo intoxication of loves cruelty.

Comedown Machine begins a bit more standard, then tip-toes into tracks of delicious and infectious proportions.  Winding down with “Chances” a sultry barrage of delicate melodies peaking on emotionally quivering and grainy vocals.  Then of course the lyrics make you unsure if whether those streaming tears are for independence or loss.  Now that you’re in your most vulnerable of states, a wave of clapping and indecisive notes drift over you in “Happy Endings“.  Catchiest chorus on the album, highlighting the pop attributes The Strokes are proudly including.  Followed conclusively by the 40’s Hawaiian sounding “Call It Fate, Call It Karma“.  Picturing myself on an island naval base dancing to the radio with an hibiscus flower tucked behind my ear, completely entranced to the dreamy persuasion.

Hm… I seemed to have skipped the first three quarters of the album.  There are impressive moments either tucked behind the soft hush of Casablanca’s vocals or in the forefront begging for a nod and pat on the back.  How can you sit still during the catastrophic ensuing of 80s snappy synth and beats on “One Way Trigger“?  How can you not feel a sudden skip in your heart while the lower pitch spits “You asked me to stay…you asked me to stay, but there’s a million reasons to leave.”  Of course my more critical side latched quickly to the awe-inspiring quote, “What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?”…but really, what kind of asshole drives a Lotus? “50 50” hums and buzzes with filthy distation replicating Cloud Nothing’s “Wasted Days”, fitting angsty rebellion nicely inside the Machine.

There are moments of hair raising ability, but they sneak by so softly, often disguised.  Knowing my patience and lyrical research resulted in an eye-opening, forever changed experience.  I feel a part of the select group where we whisper moments of sultry achievement and scoff at those who may pass by this album in ignorance and laziness.

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TAGS: The Rubs?, horrible. Review Part One (written), Review Part Two (written), broken chargers