Today, the Strokes dropped “One Way Trigger,” their first music since their 2011 album Angles. Here, six SPIN editors give their hasty and completely impulsive opinions…
“Take on Me” + “Axel F” + keening falsetto boy-ache warble, which means it a sounds a little more like a Julian ’80s-baby solo record than a Strokes full-band record, even with the super-snazzy guitar solo (which sorta sound like a keytar, to be honest). Dig the pre-chorus bass drop (ha!) Whole thing is way more genuinely playful and productively weird than we probably had a right to expect. And it’s got the necessary, Strokes-playbook, mumbling-in-the-shower romantic couplet that cracks your thin veneer of emotional fascism: “You asked me to stay / But there’s a million reasons to leave.” Now, all they gotta do is get Steve Barron for the video (especially after that whole Choking Man).
Early score: 8/10
There was a time when people wrote about Julian Casablancas’ brooding baritone. There was also a time when the Strokes boasted they’d made an album that sounded like it was made of synths, but was actually made of guitars. But now we have the nü-wave Strokes! Their “One Way Trigger” is jittery, bloopy, poppy, synthy, and extremely fasletto-y. It is also quintessentially a Strokes song — impressively so, as though the band was answering a challenge to write a Strokes song in a variety of styles (this one would be Caribbean Chillout?). Would it beat the Dirty Projectors’ groovy, spare “Gun Has No Trigger” in a shootout? No fucking way. But grab a pina colada and dance down Avenue A enjoying life for a minute, eh, haters?
Early score: 7/10
Julian Casablancas’s underappreciated solo album (2009’s Phrazes for the Young) was a gleaming, cybernetic pop machine. The most recent Strokes’ effort, 2011’s Angles, was the sound of a band getting back on its feet. And as such, it was easy to imagine Julian being a bit bored making it. “One Way Trigger” suggests the singer is reasserting himself. The song’s percolating electronics, intricate production, and robo-rhythms are totally Phraze-d. The pieces don’t quite interlock as impressively as they did on that album or Angles, but that Casablancas and the band are at least trying solving a new puzzle is promising.
Early score: 7/10
Christopher R. Weingarten
This maddening pulse is the sound of what was actually going on in the early part of the millennium, a time while the Strokes were pretending they were living in the late part of the 1970s. The neon spank of electroclash, the hyperkinetic double-time of gypsy-punk, the fleeting appreciation of chiptune and 8-bit video game music, the Tenacious-to-Darkness line of butt-rock guitar solos and falsetto whines, James Murphy and pals digging up skinny-tie rarities. Stay tuned for the Detroit Grand Pubahs remix? Yeah, its all kind of like when the Beastie Boys did Hello Nasty and pretended they spent the early ’80s rapping like the Treacherous Three instead of slam-dancing to Reagan Youth. But no one’s gonna do the Flintstone Flop to this.
Early score: 6/10
“One Way Trigger” is the kind of deluded, hot-sounding nonsense title usually reserved for an Aldo Nova album cut, and the song itself sounds like a Klezmer band doing new wave, which well, points for not possessing any of the elements usually associated with the Strokes. Then again, it actually makes a lot of sense following the Christopher Cross dork-funk of Angles, doesn’t it? And there’s something admirably, mind-bogglingly arrhythmic about its a-ha “Take On Me” jiggle and desperate Bowie “Modern Love” guitar flicker. Maybe Mr. Casablancas and his pallies are intent to replace the recently broken-up Emeralds, here? “One Way Trigger” is probably good for soundtracking a slaying of wannabe Spicolis at pinball or something, but we’re going on at least like, year four of synth-twiddling ding-dongs making transcendently goofy ’80s-indebted stuff like this, so, gonna pass.
Early score: 6/10
Norway or the highway!
Early score: 5/10
AVERAGE SCORE: 6.5