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Track Review | The Strokes - "All the Time"

To those of you who were scared away by the first release from the Strokes’ new album, you can come out of your hiding spots now. According to the band, “One Way Trigger” was just a taste of Comedown Machine (out March 26), which makes their latest track “All the Time” the first official single from the follow-up to 2011’s Angles.

Thankfully, this song marks the return to the Strokes’ roots. Without a single synthesizer to be found, the signature sound returns, specifically Albert Hammond, Jr.’s killer lead guitar. Julian Casablancas’ voice returned to its usual pitch as well. I actually liked the falsetto found on “One Way Trigger,” but I’m happy to hear his effortlessly cool drawl once more.

“All the Time” is for the most part a successful song that captures my attention, but a few things bother me. There’s just something that isn’t quite right with the song. It lacks the instant classic feeling of “You Only Live Once,” “Reptilia,” or anything off Is This It? Even “Under Cover of Darkness” was one of those songs that struck a chord with me the first time I listened. “All the Time” sounds more like a filler track than a single to me which is a huge departure from the band’s usual high standard of lead singles.

My biggest qualm with this song is the obnoxiously long outro (which also drives home my point about this sounding like a filler track). After playing the final note, the band decided that a nearly forty second long fade was appropriate. The tail of this track is obviously meant to lead into “One Way Trigger” which immediately follows on the official tracklist, but they should have either shortened it, or in classic Strokes fashion, end the song abruptly. A 3 minute long song can’t afford to waste that much time.

When I first heard “Under Cover of Darkness” back in 2011, I thought “The Strokes are back! Angles is sure to be a hit!” I ended up disliking that album for the overuse of cheesy 80s synths that reeked of Casablancas’ solo career. Now that I heard “All the Time,” I plan to learn from my mistake. I hope reverse psychology will work once again and Comedown Machine will be as great as I so desperately want it to be.


Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee