Veteran New York indie rockers The Strokes beat out some serious competition to win their first-ever Grammy Award, picking up the gong for Best Rock Album at the 2021 ceremony. The band grabbed their first proper Grammy Award but also perhaps took the unofficial award for the funniest acceptance speech too.
The Strokes won Best Rock Album for their 2020 release The New Abnormal keeping Fontaines D.C. record A Hero’s Death, Sturgill Simpson’s Sound and Fury and Grace Potter’s Daylight from the prize.
The rest of the awards show was dominated by artists and singers who would probably turn away from any ‘rock’ moniker being bestowed upon them. It was enough to see the band asked about “the state of rock and roll,” to which lead singer Julian Casablancas replied: “I kind of always make fun of rock‘n’roll so I think it’s kind of funny, or cool, or fitting, that we won the award.
“I think that people that say things are dead,” continued Casablancas, “I just feel like their imagination, possibly, has died… Honestly, there’s room for so many genres of music—not necessarily blues rock, please, no more of that.”
The New Abnormal certainly set out a new precedent for The Strokes. It was a welcome return to form that started a dark year with a bright spark. It had been seven years since The Strokes had produced a full-length effort before they unleashed The New Abnormal on the world in 2020. For the first time in their career, it felt like expectations were low for an album and their 2016 EP Future Present Past didn’t help quell fears of a possible dud being on the cards from the band, but, The New Abnormal was a revelation.
The Strokes recruited legendary producer Rick Rubin, who guided the band to create their most cohesive piece of work since their debut LP. Whilst the record is only nine songs long, there isn’t one song on the album that feels like a misstep — which has become an uber-rare thing to say about The Strokes in recent years.
See The Strokes receive their Grammy award for Best Rock Album, below.