The Cover Uncovered: The story behind The Strokes’ 2001 classic ‘Is This It’

The Ramones, Television, and The Velvet Underground are the city’s conventional punk champions, invoking a raw downtown New York that gracefully illustrates thirty-six minutes of fashionable low-fidelity. Is This It, is the first album from New York rockers The Strokes in 2001. The ‘sad boi’ acoustic indie that had dominated charts in the later phases of the 1990s was eradicated by the indie/post-punk resurgence that would govern culture throughout much of the noughties, propelled to magnificence and opened the doors for the quintet. Its iconic status is indisputable.

During that period, Is This It offers a melodic representation of the metropolis. Similar to the television series Friends, which showcased the twin towers in the backdrop as a symbol of the city before the tragic events of 9/11, this calamity also contributes to the album’s iconic status. Although the album was eventually released in the United States, a mere two weeks after the significant September 11th attacks, it had already been available in UK stores for several weeks.

This is a defining and stark account of post-9/11 era in New York, providing a sequel to The Bright Lights Turned On. In 2002, Interpol’s The Bright Lights Turned On can be seen as a sequel, further, this revolution of indie, leather-jacketed, skinny-jeaned new vanguard would not exist. Interpol and Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and The Libertines would not be the same bands who captured the essence of the new society without whom countless other bands were spawned. After the attacks, life was soon decimated by the widespread gentrification and the War on Terror led by Rudy Giuliani. It captures a way of life that started to shift as the tectonic plates of culture were soon to be changed.

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The release of the album ‘Someday’ and ‘Last Nite’ from The Strokes was highly anticipated due to the increasing importance of their career. Despite the global disaster happening at the time, the singles ‘Explain’ and ‘Hard to Explain’ were still loved by fans today. The Strokes’ rhythm and charisma were hailed, and it was predicted that their platinum success would continue in multiple countries. This is how their dynamics and rhythm would end up building throughout their career.

The album’s iconic status is not just due to its trailblazing grit, but also to the international recognition it gained. Consumers love it for its shocking infamy and artistic cover, which cements its iconic nature.

Following her shower, the photograph emerged from a spontaneous photo session. The model happened to be Lane’s girlfriend during that period, and the cover artwork showcases a polaroid image captured by Colin Lane, displaying the suggestive image of a woman’s backside and hip, with a leather-gloved hand resting upon it.

The result was indeed a perfect capture of the essence, implicitly and graphically sexy. I was just trying to take a sexy picture, but there was no real inspiration. Lane remembered that we had shot about 10 shots, noting that another stylist had left the Chanel glove in his apartment.

The cover is iconic, serving as music’s equivalent to some of the greatest LPs ever released. It is constantly being discussed as one of the greatest album covers of all time, thanks to the influential and provocative work of photographers Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton. The band decided to drop the title from the question mark in conjunction, as it didn’t aesthetically look right.

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Demonstrating its enduring significance, the LP has surpassed both the main shopping district and Woolworths, possibly because of the way the artwork flawlessly communicates the album’s themes. HMV and Woolworths, prominent British retail stores, raised objections about the cover but still carried the album.

We know that European stores can sometimes get a bit of a sexual provocation if they are involved in pure class or money, but they cannot be considered the same as American conservative chain stores like Target or Walmart. Although unsurprisingly, the album cover did have to be changed for the American market.

Frontman Julian Casablancas claims that the US release is even more impressive than the image of a donkey. The original picture had already been utilized for the cover of Prince’s album Graffiti Bridge. The American cover art showcases a mind-bending image of a subatomic particle in a bubble chamber thereafter. They were concerned about facing retaliation and believed it would be wise not to provoke the large retail stores or influential individuals who exert pressure on policymakers. Consequently, the band opted to alter the artwork due to the controversy generated by the international cover. The Bush administration was responsible for all the events and circumstances occurring in the United States during that period.

In an interview in 2018, Lane recalls that after taking a polaroid, he put it in his portfolio without thinking much about it. We know that it truly belongs to his spontaneous masterpiece, but all we know about it is the cover.

They remained in touch and in the evening, they climbed up to a rooftop near Terminal Central Grand to shoot another series in the sunset. However, he was initially more interested in working with The Strokes on their music than in the commission for the magazine Face. He got his first assignment for the magazine in early 2001, when his band, whose EP debut was not widely known at the time, was doing rounds in London.

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RCA eventually went on to join The Strokes later in the same year. Summoned to an aged Winnebago by the band’s artistic director, Lane was urgently seeking an album cover, striving to persuade the band to reach a conclusive choice. The following day, they were en route to Australia, and the record label’s cutoff date was rapidly approaching. “Fortunately, I had brought along my collection of work, and they inquired if they could peruse it. I was astounded when they inquired if they could utilize the rear end shot.”

It’s a small part of me that will never stop feeling lucky.Output: I will never stop feeling fortunate, as there is a small aspect of me that has been lucky.

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