The Strokes triumphantly return today with The New Abnormal, their first album in seven years. To celebrate, all five members broke down the record track by track on the latest episode of their pirate radio series “Five Guys talking about things they know nothing about”. Much like the first installment released earlier this week, the hour-long video chat also saw them shoot the shit about a lot of other things, including quarantine fashion, Jim Carrey, and graham crackers.
Broadcasting from each of their homes, The Strokes highlighted a number of songs on the LP, especially those not released as proper singles. Discussing “Selfless”, Albert Hammond Jr. recalled “the light and the sun” of the recording room that day, while Fabrizio Moretti talked about the “pressure of not messing up” while in the presence of renowned producer Rick Rubin. Somehow that conversation led to one about boogers — yes, really — and that one SNL skit in which Jim Carrey parodies Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercials. Because they can, the guys actually air the entire Carrey sketch in between songs.
Speaking about “Eternal Summer”, Moretti revealed that the track was actually first titled “Exterminator”. Hammond said that while Rubin’s influence could be felt throughout the whole album, this “one especially” featured his signature touch. It was also on this track that Rubin really pushed the band members out of their comfort zones. “We played the verse for 20 minutes and the chorus for 20 minutes and found the cool parts,” Hammond noted, a process they’d never used before. “Rick wanted to loop Julian’s voice like a percussive hook,” added Moretti, another thing they hadn’t thought to do in the past.
Although Casablancas has long been a Mets fan, he said he actually wanted to leave the team’s name out of their closing song “Ode to the Mets”. He said he initially came up with the title after the New York team suffered a “painful loss” and wrote part of the song while waiting on a subway platform after the game.
Moretti noted he’d never really attached the team to the song, but rather analyzed the track’s meaning in a more abstract way. “I never paid attention to it much as the team,” he explained, “It’s more like something that you set your heart to and that you love unconditionally, but that continues to disappoint you.”
“The guys on the team are gonna love that,” quipped Casablancas. (Maybe they ought to consider re-titling it “Ode to the Knicks” then?) Casablancas jokingly suggested that the team “should play it after every Mets loss.” As with the SNL skit, The Strokes actually slipped in footage of that fateful Mets game.
In non-album talk, Moretti discussed his serious love for graham crackers, as well as his fears amidst this global pandemic. “I feel wiped out just from grinding my coffee beans, maybe I’ve got it [coronavirus]?” They also talked about how seriously they’ve been taking social distancing and hand-washing. Hammond even floated the fashionable idea of wearing a hazmat suit but without any underwear.
Watch the entire, super entertaining episode below.