Without getting bitter or vengeful, “Reptilia,” “Automatic Stop,” “You Talk Way Too Much” and “Between Love & Hate” all grapple with love on the rocks. That’s as close to “pro-social” as it gets.
The f-word shows up on several songs. One of them has the singer admitting he’s in lust, not love (“Meet Me in the Bathroom”). On “12:51,” he and his girlfriend plan to pick up alcohol and head to her house (“We could go get some 40s … Your folks are away now?/All right, let’s go”). A line on “Under Control” promotes passivity (“I don’t want to change the world/I just want to watch it go by”). The s-word mars “I Can’t Win,” which involves a sad sack complaining about his lack of success picking up women in bars for casual sex (“He told me that these girls were easy”).
This five-man band from New York City got its act together in 1999. After a debut that sold nearly one million copies, The Strokes hope to ignite even more interest with this follow-up. With any luck, people will get burned-out on the misery, obscenities and sexual situations. Don’t let teens play with Fire.