At The Door

Album: The New Abnormal (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • This celestial synth ballad has Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas singing about a relationship that's falling apart and the feelings of loss that come with it. It's the first single from The New Abnormal, the band's first LP in seven years.
  • The Strokes debuted the song, along with its animated video, at a political rally in support of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire on February 10, 2020.
  • In the video, directed by Mike Burakoff, a young boy uses his imagination to escape the horrors of his home life, which is fraught with domestic violence. The intergalactic world he conjures references several animated classics of the '70s and '80s - including the oppressed rabbits of Watership Down, the vengeful, sword-wielding warrior maiden of Heavy Metal, and The Neverending Story, a tale of another boy's escape into a fantasy world.

    "The references to Heavy Metal,Watership Down and The Neverending Story, are fairly obvious," Burakoff told It's Nice That, "but in the process of making this video, Benjy [Brooke, producer] turned me on to some other animated masterpieces of the era: Angel's Egg, Time Masters, Gandahar, the Neo Tokyo anthology, the Memories anthology, Fantastic Planet. It's no mistake that this video reminds people of so many classic animated movies. We wanted to recreate scenes and characters that could have actually appeared in those films. But they aren't quite the same, they seem a little off and that gives you this feeling of nostalgic unease… Is this memory real?"
  • Burakoff explained the final scene, where the boy returns home to find it's been abandoned for years: "There's a feeling when you are growing up that you are just leaving for a second to go get something, that you'll be right back. But reality is not the same as a memory, you can't go back. Something or some time that feels so close to you can be impenetrably far away. It's a feeling of loss that I get when I think about certain memories from my past. That notion is at the heart of this video… How do these different characters deal with loss? What does it feel like to face the future?"
  • The album's cover art is the 1981 painting "Bird On Money" by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
  • Released on April 10, 2020 during the COVID-19 global lockdown, Casablancas told Los Angeles Times the album title "feels fitting." He explained The New Abnormal name stemmed from something Governor Jerry Brown said during the 2018 Malibu fires.

    "There's a parallel between global warming and the coronavirus," Casablancas added. "A similar kind of threat to your reality."
  • Billie Eilish is a huge Strokes fan. Speaking to Australia's Triple J she named this among her nine favorite songs of 2020 during their annual fan-voted special, The Hottest 100.

    Eilish added she'd like to put The New Abnormal as her first-choice record. "It's been my favorite album in many years," she said "There is something about The Strokes, I don't know what it is, man. I love 'At The Door,' I love the melodies, I love the lyrics, I love everything about it. The Strokes hit a nerve."

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