I’ve had a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine for years and one of my favourite parts of each issue is the illustration that appears alongside the first album review. Every issue they seem to find a new and talented illustrator and this is definitely a worthwhile way to use most of a page.
I’ve kept the illustration that appeared alongside the review of either “Is This It” or “Room On Fire” by the Strokes — I only have the illustration, not the review or publication date — because it is excellent. It shows the band in their prime as a bunch of cool kids from New York in t-shirts and jeans. They look young and have the vibe of the early 2000s.
In the March 31, 2011 issue is a review of the Strokes latest album “Angles” next to a new and distinctively different illustration of the band. Ten years and a few solo projects separate them from where they were when they released “Is This It.” They are trying to make a comeback and become a band once again. This time they are serious, dark and not looking at the reader. They are cool as ever but their hair is longer, they are older and they have something to prove.
Both illustrations are beautiful in their own right but in very different ways. The first is youthful and confident while the second is dark with experience. A lot changes in ten years and these illustrations record the band’s evolution beautifully.