The Strokes teased a new song named “Starting Again” through an advertisement supporting New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley. It was co-written by frontman Julian Casablancas and New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander, with production by David Kahne.
One minute of the song was used for the ad, featuring a section of Casablancas singing the words “Starting Again” repeatedly for the chorus and “Goodbye world, we can’t go back again/We can’t go back, no/We’ll start anew again/You used to call” for a verse following it. An ‘80s-inspired guitar riff plays during the chorus with The Strokes’ standard style during the verse and a few bars of a solo interrupted by the end of the video.
The advertisement was shot in black-and-white, showing Wiley speaking with her supporters while appearing at The Strokes’ show at Irving Plaza, NY on June 12, which was the first fully-vaccinated, full capacity show in NYC, held as a fundraiser for Wiley and also featuring a stand-up set by comedian John Mulaney, an appearance from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a performance by Dev Hynes, who’s better known as Blood Orange. The footage was mixed in with shots of some of New York City’s most iconic spots while on-screen text notes that she has been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren as well as Ocasio-Cortez and New York’s biggest union, Local 1199.
Casablancas and Alexander released a joint statement in support of Wiley, “In an era of voter suppression and mega donors dismantling democracy, it’s crucial to remember New York City is too important to risk handing the reins of America’s most diverse metropolis to the same kind of party machine that’s controlled NY’s governance for most of the 20th century… one of Brooklyn clubhouse politics, big real-estate money and mutual back-scratching. It is time we elect Maya as the city’s first woman mayor to make things better for ALL of our futures.”
Wiley is a lawyer and civil rights activist who served as counsel to New York City’s current mayor, Bill de Blasio and frequently appears as MSNBC’s legal analyst. She’s a democratic candidate, who currently sits at second in the polls behind moderate democrat Eric Adams.
The Strokes also shared a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, which they recorded during an “unplugged” performance at a virtual fundraiser for Wiley. Casablancas’ vocals are heavily manipulated as he sings over guitar triplets and piano chords.
Later this year, the band has plans to appear at festivals including Shaky Knees and Outside Lands. They released their first album in seven years in April 2020, called The New Abnormal, which won them their first Grammy award.
Photo credit: Stephen Hoffmeister