Angles (The Strokes album)

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Angles
Studio album by The Strokes
Released March 18, 2011
Recorded February–November 2010 at Electric Lady Studios and Avatar Studios in New York City;
One Way Studios in Upstate New York
Genre New wave, post-punk revival, indie rock, synthpop
Length 34:09
Label RCA, Rough Trade
Producer Gus Oberg, Joe Chiccarelli, The Strokes
The Strokes chronology
First Impressions of Earth
(2006)
Angles
(2011)
Comedown Machine
(2013)
Singles from Angles
  1. "Under Cover of Darkness"
    Released: February 11, 2011
  2. "Taken for a Fool"
    Released: July 1, 2011

Angles is the fourth studio album by American indie rock band The Strokes, released on March 18, 2011. It was their first album since First Impressions of Earth (2006), their longest gap to date between studio albums.

Recording[edit]

After touring in support of First Impressions of Earth, The Strokes went on an extended hiatus in 2007[1] and then regrouped two years later to begin writing new material for a fourth album.[2] The album took more than two years to materialize, with the band recording live demos of 18 songs before heading into Avatar Studios in New York with producer Joe Chiccarelli.[3] Not long after recording began, however, the band became frustrated with Chiccarelli's reserved production style. Only one song from these recording sessions, "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight", remained on the album's tracklisting. The Strokes recorded the rest of the album's material with engineer Gus Oberg at a converted farmhouse near guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.'s Port Jervis home in Upstate New York.[4]

Singer Julian Casablancas largely removed himself from the other four Strokes during the recording process, going so far as recording his vocals remotely at Electric Lady Studios and sending them to the band via email. Likewise, most communication between Casablancas and the rest of the band took place via email, and, according to guitarist Nick Valensi, most of the singer's ideas and suggestions were written "in really vague terms", leaving the others without much to go on. Casablancas' literal distance was a deliberate attempt at forcing the other members to take control of the band's creative process, a task which he had hitherto dominated. In an interview with Pitchfork, Casablancas stated: "When I'm there, people might wait for me to say something. I think it took me being a little mute to force the initiative". While Casablancas’ disengagement may have been by design, Valensi found the whole experience deeply dissatisfying. "I won’t do the next album if we make it like this. No way. It was awful– just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there. I’d show up certain days and do guitar takes by myself, just me and the engineer."[5] Hammond's drug abuse and resulting rehab — stemming from his breakup with model Agyness Deyn — was another hurdle the band faced during the album's production, as he missed early recording sessions.[6]

Musical style[edit]

The Strokes decided to experiment with various production techniques including MIDI electronic samples and Farfisa keyboards. They also overdubbed more guitars, and Casablancas toyed with vocal layers. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture revealed that the album would be "a return to the basics", suggesting the songs would be of similar style to their acclaimed 2001 debut record, Is This It. "Sonically, I feel it's the album which should have been made between Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth," he stated.[7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 71/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[9]
The A.V. Club B+[10]
Entertainment Weekly B−[11]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[12]
The Independent 3/5 stars[13]
NME 7/10[14]
Pitchfork 5.9/10[15]
PopMatters 6/10 stars[16]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[17]
Spin 8/10[18]

Critical[edit]

Media response to Angles was generally favorable; aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalized rating of 71%, based on 41 reviews.[19] In his four-star review, David Fricke of Rolling Stone explained that the record was "worth the wait", and summed it up as "the first step away from the sound of their instant-classic debut. Instead of the rigid purity of 'Is This It,' the new album nods to the more expansive sound of The Velvet Underground's 1970 record, Loaded."[20] Other critics praised Angles as a welcome reinvention for the band, with NME noting that it "lives up to its name by coming at you from some very obtuse places."[21] Claire Suddath of Time called the album "a 10 song exercise in rock precision,"[22] and Mikael Wood of Spin proclaimed that it "reminds you why they were so irresistible in the first place".[23] Amanda Petrusich of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B-, describing it as "accordingly fractured and often inscrutable, but (with) returns to form."[24]

Commercial[edit]

Angles entered the Australian albums chart at #1, The Strokes' first time at the top spot within the country and the second time such a feat has occurred thus far in the band's career. Meanwhile, it reached #4 in the US with an entry sales week of 89,000 units, 1,000 more than that of its predecessor, First Impressions of Earth.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Peak
position
No. of weeks
on chart
Australian Albums Chart[25] 1 6
Austrian Albums Chart 9 4
Belgian Flanders Albums Chart 18 6
Belgian Wallonia Albums Chart 17 7
Canadian Albums Chart 4 6
Danish Albums Chart 18 2
Dutch Albums Chart 23 3
Finnish Albums Chart 31 1
France Albums Chart 6 11
German Albums Chart 15 4
Irish Albums Chart 3 8
Italian Albums Chart 20 6
Mexican Albums Chart 5 17
New Zealand Albums Chart 6 5
Norwegian Albums Chart 15 3
Portuguese Albums Chart 3 2
Spanish Albums Chart 4 14
Swedish Albums Chart 21 4
Swiss Albums Chart 6 7
UK Albums Chart 3 10
US Billboard 200 4 10
US Billboard Alternative Albums 1 7
US Billboard Digital Albums 3 2
US Billboard Rock Albums 1 7
US Billboard Tastemaker Albums 1 6

The album also reached 93 on the Top 100 Selling albums chart of 2011 in Australia.[26]

Singles[edit]

The first single to promote Angles, "Under Cover of Darkness", was released on February 11, 2011. The 7" was officially released on March 1, 2011 and contained "You're So Right" as the B-side. The second single, "Taken for a Fool", was released on July 1, 2011. A live version of the track, recorded during an April 1, 2011 concert at Madison Square Garden and featuring Elvis Costello, was made available as the single's accompanying B-side. The song "Machu Picchu" appears on the soundtrack for EA Sports' FIFA 12 video game.[27]

Information
"Under Cover of Darkness"
"Taken for a Fool"
  • Released: July 1, 2011
  • Chart positions:
    #32 (Billboard Alternative Songs)

Track listing[edit]

All music written and arranged by The Strokes.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Machu Picchu"   Julian Casablancas, Nick Valensi[28] 3:29
2. "Under Cover of Darkness"   Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond, Jr., Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi[29] 3:55
3. "Two Kinds of Happiness"   Julian Casablancas[30] 3:42
4. "You're So Right"   Julian Casablancas, Nikolai Fraiture[31] 2:33
5. "Taken for a Fool"   Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi[32] 3:23
6. "Games"   Julian Casablancas, Albert Hammond, Jr., Nick Valensi[33] 3:51
7. "Call Me Back"   Julian Casablancas, Nick Valensi[34] 3:02
8. "Gratisfaction"   Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi[35] 2:59
9. "Metabolism"   Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi[36] 3:00
10. "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight"   Julian Casablancas[37] 4:15
Total length:
34:09

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Strokes to take the year off". Nme.com. May 24, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Strokes: 'We've started writing our fourth album'". Nme.com. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Return of the Strokes: Inside the Fractious Sessions for Their Fourth Album". Rolling Stone. January 18, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Strokes begin recording fourth album with U2, Beck producer". Nme.com. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  5. ^ Garrett, Jonathan (March 7, 2011). "This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes". Archived from the original on March 8, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  6. ^ Yuan, Jada (2009-03-20). "Agyness Deyn and Albert Hammond Jr. Break Up, Remain Friends". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  7. ^ "The Strokes Confirm Album Release Date - 18 Jan 2011 | Clash Music Latest Breaking Music News". Clashmusic.com. January 18, 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Angles Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  9. ^ Heather Phares. "Angles". AllMusic. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Strokes: Angles | Music". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (March 17, 2011). "Angles (2011)". Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  12. ^ Alexis Petredis (March 17, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles – review". The Guardian. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ Andy Gill (March 18, 2011). "Album: The Strokes, Angles (Rough Trade)". The Independent (London). Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  14. ^ Barry Nicholson (March 16, 2011). "Album Review: The Strokes - Angles (Rough Trade)". NME. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  15. ^ Ryan Dombal (March 21, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ Arnold Pan (March 21, 2011). "The Strokes: Angles". PopMatters. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  17. ^ Fricke, David (March 16, 2011). "The Strokes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  18. ^ Wood, Mikael (March 6, 2011). "The Strokes 'Angles'". Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Angles by The Strokes". Metacritic.com. 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  20. ^ "Strokes' New Album 'Angles' is Best Since Their Debut". Rollingstone.com. 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  21. ^ "Album Review: The Strokes - Angles (Rough Trade)". Nme.com. 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  22. ^ Suddath, Claire (March 21, 2011). "Back Strokes". Time. Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  23. ^ Wood, Mikael (March 6, 2011). "The Strokes, 'Angles'". Retrieved March 31, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Angles | Music". EW.com. 2011-03-17. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  25. ^ "The Strokes - Angles - Music Charts". Acharts.us. 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  26. ^ "Adele’s "21" crowned ARIA’s highest selling album of 2011 LMFAO takes single honours with "Party Rock Anthem"" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  27. ^ Trapara, Nemanja (September 12, 2011). "FIFA 12 soundtrack featuring 39 artists from 15 countries". EA Sports Football. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  28. ^ Machu Picchu - ASCAP
  29. ^ Under Cover of Darkness - ASCAP
  30. ^ Two Kinds of Happiness - ASCAP
  31. ^ You're So Right - ASCAP
  32. ^ Taken for a Fool - ASCAP
  33. ^ Games - ASCAP
  34. ^ Call Me Back - ASCAP
  35. ^ Gratisfaction - ASCAP
  36. ^ Metabolism - ASCAP
  37. ^ Life Is Simple in the Moonlight - ASCAP
  38. ^ "Interviews – Rock & Folk April 2011". April 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]