The genius of Genius and an apology to Ryan Adams…

I was chatting with this girl that I know the other day and was quite impressed when she told me that her favourite band were The Strokes. Ah, The Strokes. Now that was a band the weren’t hyped in any way. They released one cracking record, a second record that didn’t quite live up to expectations and then a third record which was actually great but failed to sell. Anyway, as I mentioned, I thought that they were a pretty cool band one upon a time, however I haven’t paid much attention to them for a while. So, I thought I’d give them a spin, re-live the youth and all and see if they still sounded as good as I remembered. I listened to their first record Is This It? twice in a row, but, if you’re familiar with this record, you’ll know that listening to that album twice barely takes an hour to do. I didn’t feel like giving the album another spin so I decided to turn on Genius on my iPhone to see what it would play. What can I say? Genius is absolutely brilliant. It’s almost like it’s able to suck out the songs that just work together and play them back to back. Who needs a DJ when you’ve got Genius. After The Strokes I got some Vines, Franz Ferdinand, White Stripes, Gerling, and The Von Bondies. All superb songs. And then the track ‘This Is It’, the first track from Ryan Adams’ rubbish Rock and Roll album came on.

I’ve barely listened to Rock and Roll since I bought it in 2003 mainly because it’s absolutely rubbish, full of cliches (Note to Self: Don’t Die, Do Miss America), parodies (This Is It – The Strokes, Boys – Britney, and The Drugs Not Working – The Verve), and is a pale shadow compared to Gold, Heartbreaker and Cold Roses. I was about to skip to the next track before deciding to pause and give it a chance. And you know what, I really enjoyed hearing This Is It. So much so, that I turned off Genius and gave the album a good listen. I was blown away. No, I was disappointed with myself that I had written this record off because it didn’t worm into my brain in the same way that Gold did. Yes, there’s a bit of silliness on the record but tracks like So Alive, Rock and Roll and Anybody Wanna Take Me Home (the finest song never written by Morrissey?) are just brilliant. Reappraising this record as a rock record rather than an Alt-country record is appropriate as it’s not an alt-country record. In fact, listen to the majority of great rock records and there’s a a degree of silliness and cheesy lyrics throughout. In a way, it’s the cheese that gives the great rock records that singalong quality that makes them so successful.

Thanks Genius for bringing this album back to my attention and thanks to AP for the inspiration for the blog. If it wasn’t for you looking to satisfy my desire for Strokes esque rock, I might never have rediscovered Rock and Roll…

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