"We live in a time in which a lot of the music we hear and see is angry, sometimes violent without a sense of purpose... and, though angst can be used to create brilliant pieces of music, it's commonly abused and becomes quite irritating and tedious after awhile. Fortunately for many of us, The Strokes have arrived, have almost achieved platinum status (in the United States... though I know they're also popular elsewhere), and prove that it's still alright to rock n' roll without being as down as an arrow, pointing... uhh... down. Yeah.1) Hard To Explain - Relationship songs are what The Strokes are famous for (so far), and here's a big one. "I like it right here/But I cannot stay"... and the way Julian's voice fades near the end with the line "It's hard to explain". It has a slow and steady rhythm that puts the listener's mind right into those of the band. What more can be said?2) New York City Cops - Removed from the U.S. release of the album due to 9/11 (nice and sensitive of them, even if the track is incredible and has the vibe of a single... *applause*), the track is a Pavement-esque laugher not meant to be taken too seriously... but that doesn't damage its quality any bit. The way Julian confuses himself at the beginning is hilarious, and the entire band's instruments add to the silly, cheery atmosphere. One of their better songs... it's a shame, though, considering the world's recent events.3) Take It Or Leave It (Live in LA) - The closer off of Is This It is lively, loud, and, of course... based on a relationship. To cut to the chase, the guitarwork is amazing (although everyone else does a fantastic job)... even if it's simple, it's rocking and perfect for both the average listener and the biggest of music fans. Raw, fast, and powerful.4) Trying Your Luck (Live in LA) - I don't think I have to say what this one's about. The lyrics are excellent, rivaling those of... all of the band's other songs! A tune of doubt, but Julian goes forward with the relationship, in the end believing in himself and his girl. Of course, the instruments are also superb, and are on a great pace... slow, but steady. It's even a bit touching!Sure, maybe they seem a tad like their influences (Velvet Underground comes to mind), but who cares? They still have their own, honest, catchy, direct (other flattering adjectives here) sound. This single and the album Is This It is great for not just music fans, but people in general. Its meaning is there for not just the band, but a good portion of the human population."
Must-have to round-off your Strokes collection...
James C. Darling | Burbank, CA | 03/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apparently, New York City Cops was left off of the Strokes' debut album "Is This It"... due to 9/11 sensitivity(?). Well...Oddly enough, I'd say it is quite different from most of the tracks on the album for which it was intended. I'm not sure if that is just a psychological thing (if it were on the labum, would it sound "different" from the other tracks?), or not. At any rate....It is definitely the most "punky" track by the band. It's got a very "heavy" bass and lead guitar riff, and a very different intro than all the tracks on "Is This It" - a long period of feedback from the guitar amps, and some amusing lead-in vocals by Julian Casablancas. A much "looser" track, all in all.Get it! It is a must for your Strokes catalog."
Hard To Explain
bigheadmodano | the bermuda triangle | 08/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Strokes have an arsenal of songs that could easily be A-sides as proven on their debut album Is This It and this little 4-track masterpiece. Hard To Explain kicks things off, and its probably the poorest song on the record. That doesn't mean its bad, but the live tracks and NYC Cops offer much more in terms of talent and passion. Nevertheless, an enjoyable track. Next up is NYC Cops, easily the finest Strokes song on their resume. It truly exemplifies the positive aspects of the band: great melody, strong singing, catchy riffs, solos, and fabulous rhythm playing on all accounts. Its the track that really steals the show and its removal from most copies of Is This It infuriates me. We get a double-dose of live songs to finish the EP, starting with a rendition of Take It Or Leave It, the best song on the band's original LP. Its pretty much played by the book but in some way a better expereince than the studio version. The same applies to Trying Your Luck, which gets a huge boost with the rawness of a live show. Overall, Hard To Explain isn't essential to a record collection, but a nice compliment to Is This It. If NYC Cops doesn't warrant a buy, surely the other three songs will do."
an over-loving fan? .:: faloolah jo | ( today i will live in alaska) | 07/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"the hard to explain single is absolutely phenomenal. the strokes are fabulous and this single only further emphasizes that fact. to say that the last 2 tracks are overly similar to the LP versions only proves that the strokes are nearly flawless live (the last 2 tracks were recorded live in LA). even still, these tracks seem to have a fuller and, in some cases, clearer sound than the originals, and i feel that the versions on the single have a slightly faster pace than the tempo of the main album (but that could just be me). the last track (trying your luck) also has slightly different lyrics. of course, everyone says that new york city cops is great (it is), and the title track is perfect (i can't deny its close proximity to the word), but . .. . . there is no but! enjoy the single and support these developing artists. they have so much to offer. (trust the faloolah. the faloolah knows.)"
Add it to your Strokes collection
Sal Nudo | Champaign, Illinois | 05/31/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Hard to Explain" is a tightly crafted, melodic song, vintage Strokes that definitely deserved its status as a released single from the band. The real gem from this disc, however, is "New York City Cops," the unreleased tune from The Strokes debut album, Is This It. "Cops" has a loose feel and cool vibe. With its propelling guitars that sometimes chime within the song, fuzzy and close vocals, and timely drumming, "Cops" would have been right at home with the rest of the songs on "Is This It," one of the most endearing, tuneful albums I've ever heard.
This disc's final two songs can also be found on "Is This It," each recorded live for radio in L.A. If you've never heard The Strokes, this short album is a great beginning -- you can't go wrong with it. "Take It Or Leave It" is one of their best, as is "Hard To Explain," while "NYC Cops" is a hidden gem that sounds great.