Phrazes For The Young - Julian Casablancas
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. At the end, after his inevitable untimely death, all anyone will care about will be the stately grandeur of the opening (and closing) music coupled with the star’s eternal blank stare: unknowable, unfathomable, and ultimately tragic. We’ll have to wait for the movie; fortunately the soundtrack is already here.
  2. Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas steps out with his debut solo album, Phrazes for the Young, and dynamically weaves '80s techno-pop with psychedelic punk, while also reinventing his usual monochromatic croon.
  3. Recorded under the radar with producer Jason Lader and Bright Eyes collaborator Mike Mogis, it’s a strange little album, just eight songs long but deceptively dense with ideas.
  4. 80
    Julian Casablancas emerges with this engagingly odd collection of songs. [Nov 2009, p.92]
  5. 80
    Ultimately, Phrazes For The Young testifies that the qualities that made Julian Casablancas so noteworthy in 2001 remain in place, just a little more difficult to predict.
  6. It may not have the sugar rush immediacy of the Strokes, and at times it's downright indulgent, but Phrazes for the Young shows that Casablancas has more than enough ideas for several albums on his own and with his band--and perhaps most importantly, he sounds more enthused about making music on it than he has since "Is This It."
  7. 80
    The effect is more Tokyo neon than Lower East Side leather. Surprisingly, the sonic leap forward intensifies Casablancas' greatest gift--melody.
  8. Overall, Phrazes For The Young is a successful departure from The Strokes' straightforward brawn, but it's not as different as it's been billed.
  9. The album adheres to a less-is-best philosophy, and the songs sound effortless. It’s simple, straightforward and immediate, just like the first Strokes album.
  10. Phrazes for the Young blusters its way through eight songs full of killer hooks and choruses, and then? Well, it’s gone, as fun and fleeting as a carnival ride that’s just a memory a few hours later.
  11. With a new Strokes album looking less likely by the day, I’m thankful for this--turns out Casablancas solo is just as good.
  12. It is overarchingly ambitious for a solo debut, and despite Casablancas’ pre-release claims that this was going to be some classico-synth detour straight out the asshole of Tattooine, the album rarely, rarely stumbles into po-mo theatrics.
  13. Burdened with the responsibility of assuring the future of rock at the beginning of this decade, Casablancas now looks like he could have a decent future of his own.
  14. Phrazes represents a creative departure for Casablancas and another milestone for his band--marking a point where they've produced more quality albums by themselves than as a group.
  15. Strokes frontman ditches leather jacket, reinvents self as DIY Gary Numan.
  16. In the end, deliberately(?) tinny tracks such as 'Glass' sound like sketches in search of a full band. Hopefully, said band will soon oblige.
  17. 'Ludow St' is lyrically smart, musically ambitious, more than any other track on Phrazes, it makes you wonder, if not regret, why the Strokes themselves never pushed the boat out this far. For that reason alone, it was worth Casablancas making this intriguing if imperfect record. [Nov 2009, p.98]
  18. A few songs have the old leather-jacket kick, but things get weirder as he explores alienation from a Lower East Side he once ruled.
  19. Whenever Casablancas strains for seriousness, the album loses focus....When he concentrates on making pop music, however, Phrazes for the Young is a blast.
  20. The irony is that Phrazes for the Young is so smoothed over--nearly all of Casablancas' trademark vocal roughness is airbrushed into oblivion--it instantly sounds like a plexiglass-covered museum piece.
  21. If it were anyone else, this record would be fine. Solid. Entertaining. But it's not anyone else--Julian Casablancas, lead singer of The Strokes. As such, you look for more and expect to tune in to find Julian doing the same.
  22. With the Strokes, Casablancas exploits the tension between his behind-the-beat, just-woke-up vocals and the band’s hurtling rhythms. On Phrazes, the slower-moving tempos match the unhurried pace of his distinctive croon, and the melodies and arrangements aren’t strong enough to make up for the loss in urgency.
  23. It's not all awful, and it's certainly not Gene Simmons doing "When You Wish Upon A Star," but it sure ain't the Strokes, either.
  24. There are moments which hint at Casablancas’ underlying skill as a writer on Phrazes, but there’s such a ruinous deployment of disparate ideas that they never form a cogent whole.
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. Dec 6, 2013
    10
    I think this album is too underrated by the critics, all the songs in "Phrazes For The Young" capture that somewhat 80 's 90 's feels very well and were able to present them in very sophisticated and beautiful electronic sounds! I would give it 9 out of 10, but to compensate the rating i give it 10!!! :D Full Review »
  2. Sep 19, 2013
    5
    [5.5] Although Julian has come a long way from the basic (yet powerful), traditional rock music that made The Strokes, he clearly hasn't ended up where he wants to be, and the worst part is he doesn't seem to care. This is become increasingly evident in The Strokes' new music, where it seems like they just want to change their style completely unnecessarily. They don't care how it sounds, they just care that they're putting out music. After listening to this album, it's quite clear that Julian is the main problem with the band's lack of cohesion and consistency. When I listen to this and Comedown Machine (which I enjoyed despite its poor songwriting), all I hear is an artist that can't wait to stop writing music. Much to his own fault, his music lacks the enthusiasm and the sincerity to entertain me like the first two Strokes albums did. I won't say that I didn't like The Strokes after Room On Fire, I just think that it's agreeable to think they don't want to work hard on their music anymore. Full Review »
  3. Jun 13, 2012
    0
    It's not that good as fans talk about. The album has acceptable songs, but as a full work, is weak. As Metacritic says, I'm "mixed": I didn't hate it as I didn't like it. But I miss Casablancas when he was drunk all the time... Full Review »