First Impressions of Earth*, put quite simply, is about Julian’s rise and fall (and much later, his return to normalcy) in both his public life and his personal life. To me, it mostly starts at the end of the ITI era, where things start going crazy for them, and everyone (meaning the band) is caught up in drinking, sex and their unexpected catapult into the limelight. This entire album documents his life and experiences around that time, and how it affected him and the people around him. Most Strokes fans are familiar with Julian’s private life in terms of his problems with drinking, and we know how much he’s struggled to quit. FIOE discusses the high of being around people who are tempting Julian with his vices and how he’s succumbed to them, but also how he dug himself out of that hole.
Throughout the album, though, Julian is the person who does not see how his lifestyle is killing his relationships - both within the band, his support system, and his significant other. Juliet and the rest of the Strokes play a significant role in this album. Juliet is seen as his anchor, the one who pulls him back to earth, the one who helps him see his wrongs, the one who refuses to leave his side, even as he pushes away. We all know what a drunk Julian was during the ITI/ROF era, and most of this album is focused on that time, up until the time be decided to sober up.
*this is just my interpretation/analysis of the album. You might not agree with all of it, or any of it, but it’s how I see it. Also, it might be interesting if you listened to the album as you read!
when kids stare at you for a long time
On February 14, 1779 Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy was killed by natives in Kealakekua Bay, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Cook was a true savage, who sailed across the world bringing murder, rape, disease, and colonialism to native peoples all over the Pacific. When he was killed, Cook was trying to kidnap the Hawaiian Aliʻi (tribal chief) Kalaniʻōpuʻu in response to an unknown person stealing a small boat. In the process, he had threatened to open fire on the islanders.
At this point, the Hawaiians decided they had enough of Cook’s bullshit. Realizing that he had been manipulating them throughout the course of his stay in Hawaii, witnessing the sexual depredations of Cook’s men, seeing how brutish and toxic European culture really was … and now being threatened with mass murder and the kidnapping of one of their tribal leaders, the Hawaiian islanders finally gave this piece of shit what he deserved: a beatdown on the beach, and a knife to the chest. This put an end to a lifetime of predatory behavior and conquest of lands in the service to the British empire.
So how about instead of celebrating a boring consumerist holiday like Valentine’s Day, we celebrate something awesome, like the death of Captain Cook … Happy Killed Captain Cook Day!