More importantly, Is This It remains (takes deep breath, steels self for commenter rage) the single best album released in the past 10 years.
Being contrary and citing the existence of haters doesn't actually make your opinions more interesting. With this defense of The Strokes, it basically makes you sound like someone who reads a lot of mainstream music magazines but never actually listens to music. But hell, even if you require a record to be a mainstream breakout hit in order to consider it the best album of the past decade, there's an easy contender that makes the whole Strokes apologia sound exactly as sad and troll-y as it is: White Blood Cells by the White Stripes, which also came out in 2001. Oh yeah, remember them? I think you should put "Fell In Love With A Girl" on and then read this line, while cackling evilly:
Beneath the shaggy haircuts and puppy-dog eyes there lurked an idea for a crisper, more melodic rock album that would radically update the sound of its forebears—one that, crucially, went against the overproduced schlock then infesting the charts.
Yeah. Because really, the White Stripes were like Lady Gaga or something. Sure.
I thought it would be fun to just start listing rock albums from the past decade that are exponentially better than This Is It, just because what else can you do in the face of epic trollery like this?
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
Sleater-Kinney, The Woods
Le Tigre, This Island
The New Pornographers, Electric Version
The Gossip, Standing in the Way of Control
TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain
The Dandy Warhols, Welcome to the Monkey House
LCD Soundsystem: Honestly, all three records—LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver, This Is Happening—are classics
The Dum Dum Girls, I Will Be
Cansei de Ser Sexy, Cansei de Ser Sexy
The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide in Black
Wild Flag, Wild Flag: it just came out, but it's clearly better than the fucking Strokes, both in terms of rocking and in terms of not-sucking
The Vivian Girls, Everything Goes Wrong
Neko Case, both Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and Middle Cyclone
I could keep going, but you get the picture. And I'm trying to stick to stuff I think is just straight-up classic; not even talking about stuff I just really like for my own purposes but falls short of being one of the Big Records Everyone Should Own.
One thing that I think is worth noting that The Strokes have that none of these other bands I've listed have: a line-up composed strictly of straight, white men. Perhaps that's why it's easier to imagine they're the Greatest Band of the Past Decade, since they fit the image many people have in their heads about what a great band should look like. But what's been cool about rock music in the past decade is that strict rules about who gets to really be an awesome rock musician have been dismantled, put through the shredder and pissed all over. And I, for one, am thrilled.