Collage-like album cover

What is “The New Abnormal?”

By Joseph Esquivel
Music Journalist

The Strokes are delivering on the promise of a new album in 2020. The band announced The New Abnormal at a Bernie Sanders rally in New Hampshire on February 9. 

Set for release on April 10, the Rick Rubin produced project gives fans nine new Strokes tracks. The group shared the first single for the new album “At The Door” on February 11. New tour dates have also followed the album’s announcement, including a London show later this month. 

The new single consists primarily of synth layers and lead singer Julian Casablancas’ vocals. “At The Door” is a step away from the concise garage rock sound the band is known for. This is not a conventional single. “Ask Me Anything,” a deep cut from the band’s 2006 effort, First Impressions Of Earth, is probably their most similar work. 

Both songs lack drums and guitar solos, instead allowing for more focus to be placed on Casablancas’ lyrics. However, where “Ask Me Anything” can come off as a little derivative, “At The Door” feels far more intricate and unique. 

News of the album first surfaced in January. Casablancas hinted at new music during the band’s New Year’s Eve show. The front man informed the fans that the group had been “unfrozen” and were back. A little over a month later the group took to social media to release a silent teaser video for the now confirmed album. 

The teaser video revealed the album’s cover art, Bird on Money, a painting by artist Jean-Micheal Basquiat. Upon first impression the painting gave me Is This It vibes. However, the new single along with Strokes lore doesn’t suggest a return to the sound of the New York natives beloved debut record.  

Instead listeners should expect the album to be somewhere along the lines of “Drag Queen” from the FuturePresentPast EP of 2016: a punchy socially-aware song featuring a lot of vocal modulation and synths. While this is not a concrete theory, “At The Door” does appear to validate that the band still love synths and their songs will continue to get longer.

Over the years, The Strokes have migrated away from their three-to-four minute song roots. In addition to the five minute single the new record will include a song, “Eternal Summer.” This song breaks six minutes, making it the longest Strokes track in history. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as the songs stay up to par with this single. 

Featured image via The Strokes.

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