So I may not have been the right age to realise the importance The Strokes’ debut album Is This It had for rock music when it was released in 2001. I was six. But from what I’ve read since listening to the band and just doing my research, it came out at a time when indie rock seemed to be dying. The music industry was dominated by boy-bands, pop-princesses, nu-metal and other dated musical movements. The Strokes came out with the album and showed that everything was going to be okay. It wowed everyone. And not just because they were so different, but because all the songs on there were to good to be passed on.
“Hard to Explain” was the band’s first ever single, and is a track that has remained in the hearts of many a Strokes fan for all these years. An exhilarating listen from the moment the drum-machine sounding kit provided by Fab Moretti begins pounding, the track always keeps you moving and entranced whether it be through the constant rhythm, the enjoyable interchanging guitar lines provided by Albert Hammond Jr and Nick Valensi or simply the vocal performance of Julian Casablancas. And even when the track stops for those few brief seconds, the anticipation of when it will start up again never leaves. It is one of the band’s greatest tracks.
I’ve always tried to think about what this song may be about; I never been able to really come to a full conclusion on it. I see it as something from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know how to react in some situations, or generally feels indifferent to what goes on around them. I’m not sure. It’s hard to explain. Ha.