The very thing I initially hated about the Strokes is what I've come to like about them. I identify with 'em. No, I'm not from a family of international playboys, and I never attended prep school -- but these guys are from the same New York City as I am. I graduated from a Manhattan high school in 1994. The Strokes, roughly my age (a bit younger), are also products of NYC education; three of the five met at the Upper West Side's Dwight School.
I remember being an NYC teenager pretty well. My LaGuardia classmates represented a huge cross-section of cultures -- the projects, the penthouses, the Brooklyn brownstones. This city is small, and no matter how hard one might try, it's impossible to alienate yourself from all the people and hustle and craziness, all the necessary parts of the metropolitan whole. So I'm betting the Strokes' adolescence wasn't much different from mine -- smoking pot in Central Park (the Dwight School's on Central Park West), eating pizza, riding the subways, hanging out in the Village, hanging out wherever. Kids aren't into all that "rich people" stuff -- most teenagers don't give a shit about yachting or society functions. Maybe their folks will have enough to get them decent guitar lessons, so they won't have to sit around struggling with the instrument quite as much as "poorer" kids. I don't fucking know. Maybe that's why Albert Hammond, Jr. has such a good sound.
All I can say is that if the Strokes seem particularly familiar to me, it's because they're every beflanneled wigger/grunger I ever saw smoking their parents' cigarettes outside the St. Ann's School on Pierrepont St. There it is: New York's prep-school underbelly. As stuck-up as they are, they're the SAME as we were.