Soma

Album: Is This It (2001)

Songfacts®:

  • This track from The Strokes' debut album is named after the fictional drug in Aldous Huxley's dystopian 1932 novel Brave New World. In the book, the populace willingly consumes the happiness-inducing elixir to alleviate their fears. "Soma is what they would take when hard times opened their eyes," frontman Julian Casablancas sings.
  • Producer Gordon Raphael told Sound On Sound how songs like "Soma" were done track-by-track and sculpted into non-standard rock sounds: "I just spent a long time sculpting the drums and processing them so that they sounded like a machine. I was taking real sounds, opening up the plug-in box containing compressors, EQ and amps, and messing around until something real sounded like something fake."
  • Rock singer-songwriter Frankie Rose contributed her version to the 2011 anniversary tribute album Stereogum Presents… Stroked: A Tribute To Is This It. She said of the experience: "To be honest this was the first time had ever actually sat down and listened to The Strokes! Maybe that sounds crazy like I have been living in a bush or something, but true! The trick was how best to make the song my own. I decided slowing it down and taking out some of the garage elements might be interesting. Adding a synth was helpful. The harmonies keep the chorus moving forward like the original, and yet totally different. Take note, there is a little homage in the guitar at the end. Can you guess for whom?"

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