By John Dickinson
10) “They found our city under the water / Gotta get my hands on something new / You don’t want to be without this / Something isn’t adding up” – The Strokes, “Tapout” Lyrics
Julian Casablancas’ first words of Comedown Machine are a curl of the lip towards the Strokes’ recent critics through a clever analogy of a lost city of sorts. Following their 5-year hiatus — a breath of fresh air for the Strokes, most of whom pursued other projects — the band returned in 2011 with the divergent Angles, which was met with harsh criticism from fans of their earlier work. In these lines, Casablancas reprimands those who pleaded for their return to indie rock but were disappointed with the results.
9) “Get dressed in your bed / While she’s asleep / It isn’t right / But it isn’t hard” – The Strokes, “One Way Trigger” Lyrics
Casablancas delves into settling down in One Way Trigger, in which he describes waking up before his wife. Lamenting the days where he could sleep until noon, Casablancas now has to get up and fulfill his obligations. While he doesn’t find it a particularly grueling task, but he notes that it doesn’t feel natural.
8) “What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?” – The Strokes, “Welcome to Japan” Lyrics
Do we really have to explain this?
7) “Why’s she telling me the story of her life? All the things you wanna kill will give you spite” – The Strokes, “50/50” Lyrics
Julian Casablancas is a big proponent of keeping things short and sweet. After all, he did name a song You Talk Way Too Much on the Strokes’ 2003 record Room On Fire. Clearly Casablancas is keeping up with this mentality a decade later, while tacking on a cautionary adage.
6) “Putting posters up for your band / Now I’ll tear them down with my hand” – The Strokes, “Welcome To Japan” Lyrics
This line most likely refers to Julian’s contempt for cookie-cutter indie rock bands, who seem to have sprung up everywhere in the past decade. As someone who propelled the genre to new lengths, we think it’s safe to say that Julian has the right to tear down whichever posters he wants.
5) “Can I stand in your light just for a while?” –The Strokes, “Call it Fate, Call it Karma” Lyrics
This is just a plain old, bare bones pretty line. Always known for being a heartbreaker and a charmer, Casablancas comes on to a woman in this line by describing her as illuminated. He flatters the woman, insinuating that it would be an honor if he could, just for a short amount of time, bask in her glow. Oh Julian, you dog you…
4) “The next generation will forget / They’re always scared of where their daughter’s been / Cause who knows, she could be alone with men / They never wanna see or hear or think about again” – The Strokes, “Slow Animals” Lyrics
Here, Casablancas takes note of a generations-old cycle of the rebellious teen turning into a petulant adult. With a caustic, sarcastic tone., he acknowledges that at a certain point in life, people begin scorn activities they once found enjoyable.
3) “Say it all, just get it all off your chest / Shake it up 500,000 times / Say no more, we don’t believe anything / Teenage angst, come all ages” – The Strokes, “Happy Ending” Lyrics
Again, Casablancas is calling out all of the Strokes’ critics. He facetiously encourages detractors to list their qualms with the band’s new sound, and then multiply it times 500,000 in order to give a rough estimate to the wolf tickets the band has had to deal with, only before telling them all they’re acting like teenagers.
2) “You never ask why / You’re livin’ a lie / Baby, you’re flying too high” – The Strokes “All The Time” Lyrics
Who would have thought the Strokes would stick an Icarus reference in one of their songs? For the plebeians among our readers, the Greek myth of the Fall of Icarus is one that tells of the death of a man, Icarus, upon flying too close to the sun with wings made of wax. Clearly, this account reminds Casablancas of a certain someone who continually bites off more than they can chew.
1) “Find a job / Find a friend / Find a home / Find a dog / Settle down / Out of town / Find a dream / Shut it down” – The Strokes, “One Way Trigger” Lyrics
As he is known to do, Casablancas censures the idea of achieving the typical tired and uninspired American mediocrity. Giving up ones dream to settle down and live a life of safety is something that Casablancas has lambasted in songs in the past, and at the age of 34 maybe Julian Casablancas is beginning to see this notion firsthand.