From The Desk Of The Love Language: The Strokes’ First Two Albums

The Love Language’s Ruby Red (Merge) was supposed to be finished more than a year ago. “I can definitely overthink stuff,” says Stuart McLamb, the band’s singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist and only full-time member. Over the next year, McLamb wound up throwing away some old songs, writing some new ones and recording the whole album all over again, bouncing between 21 musicians and four cities before he and co-producer B.J. Burton decided they were done. It was one of those times when recording was harder than writing, but now that it’s all in the past, McLamb describes himself as “genuinely happy.” McLamb will  be guest editing all week. Read our brand-new feature on the band.


McLamb: Now that it’s been, give or take, 10 years since their release, it’s nice to listen back to them for what they are. Without the fashion statements and “saviors of rock ‘n’ roll” tags, these Strokes‘ albums stand up as just really great guitar-driven pop records. Constant hooks melodically, rhythmically and lyrically. I don’t know exactly what’s so special about them. They just make me happy. I’ve enjoyed dissecting some of the songs to the bare melodies and playing them on piano. They’re really gorgeous in that context. Always catchy but always a little strange. But yeah, they also looked really fuckin’ rad.