On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
The Strokes – New York City Cops (2001)
” New York City Cops” is a song by American rock band the Strokes. It was released along with ” Hard to Explain” as a double A-side single on June 25, 2001, in Australia and Europe.
We’re continuing in the US but leaving California today, dear reader, and making our way east across all of North America to New York. Formed in 1998 The Strokes specialised in indie rock and began their career strongly. We join them at the start with the release of their debut album, Is This It, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, New York City Cops.
New York City Cops was written by Strokes’ frontman, Julian Casablancas, in response to a controversial headline in the US. Amadou Diallo, a 23 year old Guinean immigrant, was fatally shot by four plainclothes police officers who mistook him for a rape suspect from more than a year ago. Initially charged with second degree murder, the four officers were later acquitted which led to an outpouring of anger. In New York City Cops the narrator describes an encounter with a woman named Nina and it is she that lambasts the New York City cops of the title, deriding them as being unintelligent. The narrator seems somewhat transfixed by Nina but also assures us he intends to leave the city and be elsewhere, beyond the rules and law enforcers.
The Strokes are yet another group I am familiar with but know little about their back catalogue. New York City Cops is a fast-paced and heavy rock number that has been compared to the work of Ramones. Is This It would be critically acclaimed upon release but New York City Cops was removed from the US edition following the terrible 9/11 terrorist attacks. A song criticising New York law enforcement seemed ill-judged given police officers and firefighters would sadly perish on that awful day. The group are together to this day but they have had long periods of inactivity.
Favourite songs so far: