Sunday, January 17, 2010

Albert Hammond Jr.

The Strokes were the first great rock-n-roll band of our young century. While there may have been nothing wholly original about them, they encompassed the spirit of nearly all the great rock-n-roll bands before them and put out two albums' worth of mostly perfect songs before the mediocrity of their third put a damper in their legacy. As Albert Hammond Jr. and Julian Casablancas drift further away from each other musically, much of their solo work only serves to demonstrate the difference between the two. I wanted very much to really like Hammond's first solo effort, Yours to Keep, but of the three songs I test-drove, only "Bright Young Things" comes close to being an excellent song, and the guitar parts of "101" and "Everyone Gets a Star" aren't quite appealing enough to save Hammond's otherwise shoddy songwriting. Casablancas's solo album (which is better than you may think) suffers from a similarly opposite problem; he's got enough songwriting ideas for another great Strokes record but Hammond's guitar is no longer around to tie those ideas together.

Of course, the guitarist of the first great rock-n-roll band of our young century will continue to get chances and I downloaded "Gfc," the first single from his second album. It starts off well enough but about 30 seconds in, Hammond just starts to sound like an imitation of his imitators. It takes more than that to grab my ear in the ipod era, and these songs hadn't been played more than a half-dozen times until I revisited them today.


  1. I liked your point about Julian and Albert's oppposite problem.

  2. Hey Dave, thanks for reading! I had been wondering what was missing from Julian and Albert's respective solo work and writing about it forced me to articulate what that was.