The Strokes are the kind of band that exists in another realm. One who, without evening meaning to, had a game-changing cultural impact, and whose 2001 debut Is This It triggered a movement worthy of an oral history and documentary, Meet Me in the Bathroom, titled after one of their own tracks. But the New York City-based five-piece have rarely gauged any interest in fitting their square pegs into the appropriate holes. Instead, they opted for taking a long, drawn-out drag on a cigarette, rarely paying fan service or doing the thing you’d most expect. the Strokes’ story is one that has capitalized on the mythos they stumbled into by simply barely batting an eyelid.

Needing no real introduction, the five-piece — Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Moretti, Albert Hammond Jr., Nikolai Fraiture, and Nick Valensi — are as stylistically and aesthetically close to the embodiment of cool as you can get without soaking yourself in dry ice. Fabricating their sound around Nick and Albert’s interplaying jangly, ‘80s reaching guitar sound, and Nikolai’s bass lines darting and dancing around Fab’s studious drums, it felt as familiar as it did frighteningly fresh. Of course, charismatically sloppy frontman Julian Casablancas, whose drawl often lay low, hidden behind vocal distortion, brought the persona and the Strokes’ tales to life. Together, the moment they stepped out of the barroom and into the daylight, music would never quite be the same again.

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The Strokes albums ranked

See our ranking of the Strokes discography, from Is This It to The New Abnormal, below.