When The Strokes released their 2020 LP The New Abnormal, fans noticed some strange additions to the songwriting credits. Along with the five band members all getting credit for writing the music and Julian Casablancas getting credit for lyrics, four other names appeared on two different songs.
The album’s second single, ‘Bad Decisions’, gave credit to legendary 1980s rock singer Billy Idol and his Generation X bandmate Tony James. The pair were the two writers behind ‘Dancing with Myself’, the snyth-punk single originally released by Generation X in 1980. When the band broke up, Idol took ‘Dancing with Myself’ and remixed the track as his debut solo single.
Part of the central melody for ‘Dancing with Myself’ would be interpolated by The Strokes for the chorus of ‘Bad Decisions’. “I didn’t know if it was a temporary thing,” Casablancas explained in a 2020 interview with Anders Bøtters’ Tiny TV. “Obviously, I was very aware of that and not trying to shy away from it or pretend like it wasn’t a thing. I think it probably also stemmed, subconsciously maybe, I was thinking with ‘Last Nite’ and the Tom Petty thing, I remember when we were working on that… I remember just trying to make a song sound like a real song, so we we’re copying it.”
He added: “Anyway, that part ended up staying, and obviously, it was an instrumental part, so it wasn’t really sue-able. I remember just reading a quote from Petty because I had been asked about it and I was always like, ‘Yeah that’s straight up a Tom Petty song’, and I read an article where he had read me saying that, and he laughed because of how honest [it was]… Because we had gotten away with that, and it had a good juju with us, maybe we hadn’t learned our lesson.”
It wouldn’t be the only song on The New Abnormal that awarded songwriting credits to another legendary 1980s act. ‘Eternal Summer’ gave credit to brothers Richard and Timothy Butler, the core songwriting team of the Psychedelic Furs. The chorus melody of ‘Eternal Summer’ interpolated the Furs’ 1984 single ‘The Ghost in You’, and the Butler brothers were given a writing credit for troubles.
Check out ‘Bad Decisions’ and listen for the melody of ‘Dancing with Myself’ down below.