So yes, this silly article is about a week or one hundred Internet years old, but I feel like bitching about it, so I am going to.
Is This It, really? I hadn't even thought about The Strokes or their "masterly debut" since I was in high school and they were all SPIN could
fap over write about. It's not like I'm a Nirvana fan--I wasn't old enough the first time around, and by the time I was old enough, I had already discovered Mudhoney--but comparing a third-rate record like Is This It to the record that IS Nevermind...that's what, laughable? This article's writer does my work for me: he lays out exactly why Is This It was terrible, but then tries to pretend like it isn't, chiefly because it meant something to him when he was sixteen.
I'm all for music nostalgia and acknowledging that records you loved when you were a teenager Meant Something. This is a fine tack to take, but not for the purposes that this particular article requires. Extrapolating personal love to the entire listening public is a daft thing to do; it's using 31 Songs methodology to try to do what Fargo Rock City accomplished.
It doesn't work. If it did, I would argue that Deloused in the Comatorium, The Mars Volta's first full-length album, was without a doubt the most significant album of the '00s. You can debate matters of taste until the cows come home, but that isn't what this author is trying to do: he's trying to assign a specific kind of record as THE most, THE best, THE something-est--based on what, exactly? That The Strokes ripped someone off, and then a lot of other people ripped off The Strokes? Well bravo to all involved. Should we laud a group for being proto-Paris Hiltons?
In terms of cultural impact, The Strokes were far-reaching in that, after they launched, a wave of even more derivative post-punk bands arrived. If you like white dude rock music, I suppose that's important, since shit like The Killers dominated the radio for awhile after. But as far as lasting influence, innovation, and charm go, Is This It falls extremely short. I don't know a single person who owns the album; I don't recall the last time anyone I know, either in personal life or online, talked about the album OR the group; I've never heard "Last Nite" played at my local hipster club; and it's safe to say that Is This It didn't do a damn thing that hadn't already been done (which I suppose makes it the PERFECT album for the '00s, because let's face it, that decade was horribly steeped in deja vu). If music journalists continue to have a boner for the NYC prepsters, fine for them--but the rest of the country moved on in 2002, and to pretend that this album has the cultural cache of Nevermind is outright preposterous. IF there can be said to be an album which defined the '00s, I would put forth Stankonia by OutKast, but IF you decide that the most influential album of the decade MUST be made by white people, you might as well go for THE Whites (White Blood Cells came out in 2001 too). Though why would you kid yourself, with stuff like St Elsewhere, Demon Days, Arular, and The Blueprint floating around?