I guess I should’ve been a little more on top of things a year ago. It was my fault, I couldn’t resist; for so long there had been so little. In July 2001, I was ready to lead the hunt for the next big thing and if I couldn’t lead, I’d follow. I ain’t too proud to beg. When the Strokes decided to drop “New York City Cops” off of their now-gold-certified debut Is This It, replacing it with “When It Started” I should’ve had a clue.

Paul Wong
Luke Smith

I did not.

The soiled mediocrity of “When it Started” tainted Is This It, an album whose merits are slimmer than most writers (this one included) believed when the record wowed much of the press upon its release. The song was (at the time) the newest song the band had recorded and judging from its astounding lack of good this should have been a sign. It should have been a warning. The band decided to can the “controversial” “Cops” because of its refrain “New York City Cops / they ain’t too smart,” especially in light of Sept. 11. This simply-put Television-cover-band (thanks Brad) had a great cut in “Cops” and nothing in its replacement.

Thankfully, “New York City Cops” and the original album art (if you haven’t seen it, go find it online) were still available on the U.K. version. So I bought it, deemed it superior and gave the free one Big Hassle sent me to Toys for Tots, or Giving Tree, or something noble.

Unfortunately, most of you have never heard the true version of Is This It – the U.K. edition.

So, Is This It came out and has sold very well. The first single “Last Night” was a success on both MTV and rock radio. Comically, the Strokes swore they would never make a video – they have since finished their third. So much for sticking to your guns, eh? It’s kind of like pulling a song off of your record because you don’t want to offend anyone. And the pulling of a song because of your sensitivity as an artist isn’t the sin – it’s replacing a good song with a terrible one that demands a “Hail Mary.”

In the wake of the Strokes’ success, the bandwagoning began for the title of next big thing, with the White Stripes being tossed into the salad last year – the same salad which has since seen the addition of the Hives and the Vines this year. N

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