Online Music Editor Stephen Ong reviews The Strokes’ latest single
‘Bad Decisions’ is The Strokes’ second release since 2016’s Future Present Past EP, heralding their first album (The New Abnormal) since 2013’s largely underrated Comedown Machine. Following the synth-heavy ‘At the Door’, ‘Bad Decisions’ is the natural progression of The Strokes’ sound, combining their classic garage rock instrumentation with the vibe of an 80s song (the melody of ‘Bad Decisions’ interpolates that of Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing With Myself’, while the instrumental is similar to that of Modern English’s ‘I Melt With You’), showing a return to form after having little relevance in the last decade, and ‘Bad Decisions’ is sure to be as iconic as their previous hits.
‘Bad Decisions’ is as self-referential as it gets; Julian Casablancas sings ‘I will leave it in my dreams’ as a nod to his solo career (The Voidz’s ‘Leave It In My Dreams’), and the playful music video alludes to the commodification of their music, for there was a time when every indie rock band sounded like them (as Alex Turner succinctly described it: ‘I just wanted to be one of The Strokes’), and the mixed reception Comedown Machine received was largely due to their change in sound, which retrospectively allowed the experimentation of the band, continuing to their latest record.
‘Bad Decisions’ is the natural progression of The Strokes’ sound, combining their classic garage rock instrumentation with the vibe of an 80s song
Similar romantic notions to ‘if I had the chance, I’d ask the world to dance’ and ‘I’ll stop the world and melt with you’ are found in ‘Bad Decisions’. The Strokes are still the coolest rock and roll band around, but they no longer rely on the tropes of ‘Barely Legal’, and instead look back on youth fondly (as he sings on ‘Evening Sun’, ‘I love you more than being seventeen’); Casablancas repeats the familiar refrain of ‘making bad decisions for you’, and it’s hard to imagine him singing it without a wry smile. On ‘Bad Decisions’, The Strokes sound revitalised, and this song is anything but a bad decision.