"Everyone Gets a Star"
from the album Yours to Keep
Stream "Everyone Gets a Star" at myspace.com/alberthammondjr
The strong-but-silent Strokes guitarist sounds sheepish on his debut solo album, but his voice is suitably dreamy and the songs are just short enough for it to hold together. Yours to Keep starts soft, Is This It–style, but by track two, the drummer is pounding out a hard beat and Hammond is playing a riff that's remarkably distinctive given that it consists almost entirely of two notes. Hammond splits his time on the mic between familiar urban pessimism ("These guys have all got problems") and a kind of super-nice optimism ("Though it took me by surprise, one by one I realized there was something I could do") that sets him apart from his wry Strokes pal Julian Casablancas. Between the seven great tunes here and the three dull ones, we get phrases half-lifted from the Beach Boys' "Lord Only Knows" and the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" -- nothing criminal in the slightest, just a clear indication of the sound Hammond's going for.