Every time the Strokes return to the fold, it reminds me of a precarious time in my life when I needed their music, which happened to coincide with their return from an extended hiatus after releasing a still-divisive third album. They had gone through plenty of shit, and I was just beginning to go through shit, and it was one of those perfect celestial alignments that led to my listening to Is This It upwards of a hundred times over a few months. So with each reemergence the band makes, no matter the scale, I find myself beaming, thinking about where I am and where I was, mostly just happy that the Strokes are still doing their thing.
The music video for “Threat of Joy,” the final track on their new Future Present Past, is a playfully convoluted tale of espionage and Wall Street corruption, which features our first non-live look at the band in five years. And while Warren Fu’s concerted gimmickry is comical, the most entertaining shots are those we get of the band performing, interacting, and just goofing around. The lighthearted feel of the video, I imagine, has everything to do with the fulfillment of their contract with RCA, and the creative freedoms they now have on Julian Casablancas’ label, Cult Records. Three moments in particular stick out to me and all involve several Strokes flashing smiles (Fab, Julian, and Albert), purely enjoying being back in a familiar position, but with much more freedom to appreciate one another’s antics. Sure the song is called “Threat of Joy,” perhaps implying the terminal nature of happiness as a looming, inevitable issue, but it’s important not to let that potential eat away at something that feels good in the moment.
Their smiles made me smile, so I screen-capped them. Is that super dorky? Totally. Do I care? Not even a little.
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Image: Cult Records
Matt Grosinger is the music editor of Nerdist, and hopes the Strokes have another album on the horizon.