Is This It is the sort of album that people measure periods of their life by. The Stokes doled out the primordial vigour of youthfulness in a casual maelstrom of attitude and pomp to such a degree that it proved transcendent and became a visceral boon in our dismal daily lives. As Alex Turner said nearly twenty years later, “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes.” The song ‘Someday’ is the one that Turner and the rest of us strummed an imaginary guitar along to.
Its relationship to fans is perfectly summed up by Julia Jacklin’s own experiences with it. “It was the first song I ever heard by The Strokes when I was around 12 years old at my next-door neighbour’s house. A song that came at the time when you’re starting to figure out what music you actually like, not just what you’re told to like. It was super nice to revisit it so many years later when I’m a musician myself,” the Australian songsmith told Triple J before embarking on the best cover of ‘Someday’ to date.
Even the tale of how the song came about forms a perfect pastiche for many fans relationship with the music. As Fabrizio Moretti told NME: “I was staying over at Julian’s house one night after a night of debauchery… I had a crazy headache when I woke up. But I woke up to him singing in the bathroom and coming up with, kind of developing the melody for it, and I always thought that was really awesome. It’s a very pretty melody.”
Not only is it the sort of song that could offer a soothing balm to a headache, but it is also adrenalised enough to have you back on the tiles in no time. The swung down-up strumming is the embodiment of how brilliantly The Strokes guitar work captures rarefied reaches of atmosphere and energy. In short, it is a melodic blast adolescence captured with the luminosity of an expressionist painting. And as ever with The Stokes early work, it is the sort of rough and ready number that saw them save rock.
However, demos are always rougher still and this beauteous ‘Someday’ example is as curtain lifting as they come. This rare cut even features different lyrics and long pre-dates the version having seemingly been recorded around the time of The Modern Age EP. Not only does this early incarnation provide a welcome second way to listen to one of your favourite songs, but it also lifts the lid on it the creation of the finished thing.
Rattling around in the brilliance of this deep cut is a crystalising of the New York mire tenets that made Is This It soar as one of the greatest albums ever recorded. As Adam Ficek of Babyshambles told us when we discussed the 20th anniversary of the album: “The Strokes shook us from the post Britpop lull creeping in from 97. I had slowly moved my attention to the excitement of the London Breakbeat scene, but in 2001 my love of grit and guitars came back with laser-sharp focus. The Strokes, the look, that video! It kickstarted and reinvigorated band culture.”
Enjoy the wash of your youth coming back to you in the video, and just imagine that nostalgic New York dive-bar in the playground of your imagination where you witnessed this go down…