Ah, nostalgia. With “Under Cover of Darkness” ringing in our ears nonstop this past week, it only makes sense to flip back a page or two on The Strokes‘ catalog and shake our memory bank some. This video goes back to 2002, only a year or so after the New York garage rockers dropped their highly acclaimed debut, Is This It, and, for the most part changed the music industry. Now, sonic aspirations aside, one of the core reasons why The Strokes bought up so much real estate in our hearts was simply because of their image. They brought back the shaggy cool. Before them, people thought baggy Jncos, twisted hair, and tattooed arms were the bee’s knees. Julian Casablancas and his alt-rock bandits thought otherwise. They took a note from their ’70s contemporaries The Ramones (throw in a little Thin Lizzy for kicks, too) and dusted off styles people only thought were appropriate for That 70’s Show or Detroit Rock City. Oh, forget that last reference, since the majority of the film’s target audience failed to recognize it until they visited their $5 DVD bin at Wal-Mart. What gives?
“Someday” still stands as one of the more pop-friendly tunes from The Strokes. The amateur drum sound, the flowery guitar lines, the ’60s dance party bass line… it’s just inviting and friendly. Casablancas reminisces about the past – something we can all relate to – and, as a result, it comes off as an accessible song (even if we technically have no fucking clue who Maya is). They translated this idea of “miss[ing] the good old days” in a rather tongue-in-cheek fashion by featuring former members of Guns N’ Roses, seemingly passing off stories of fame and fortune and loss in a seedy-looking LA bar. Directed by Roman Coppola (does that name ring a bell?), the whole thing’s awash in this throwback style. It’s retro, but we know it’s not really retro. When we watch the boys hit up arcade machines, bite into juicy burgers, or lay back in the broken-in leather booths, a part of you thinks, “I wonder if they’re complaining about Nixon.” The best part comes when they play on a ’70s-styled game show against acclaimed indie rockers Guided by Voices. Oh, is that Al from Home Improvement, too?
We know The Strokes aren’t from the ’70s, but there’s this charm to that dream-like quality. What’s important to take away with “Someday” are two things. One, the image. If there was ever a video to sell this band, it’s this one. From their fashion choices to their mannerisms to who they hang out with – let’s face it, what other band bridges the gap between GBV and GNR? – this video boldly underlines the fact that The Strokes not only have an image but live in a world unlike our own. If that isn’t fucking rock ‘n’ roll, then… you’re listening to too much underground music.