The Strokes
Room on Fire


4.0
excellent

Review

by vmcoia91 USER (15 Reviews)
February 3rd, 2017 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Strokes best work.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I’ve only now started to take an interest in the Strokes. When I was first taking a more in-depth interest in music, I of course was immediately made cognizant of their existence. Is This It was on nearly every end of decade list. and though I liked what I heard, as it was undeniably catchy, I never felt compelled to listen to any of their other material. But, now shamelessly finding a new obsession, Room on Fire might just be the band’s finest work, as I'd argue it encapsulates everything great about the band: catchy tunes and memorable guitar riffs mixed with a powerful, unique voice. When listening to their debut, it’s hard not to notice how often the vocals are obscured, thus placing more of an importance on the sound than the lyrics. This is a good thing. Because even though I don’t think Casablancas is bad lyricist, his selling point as a front man is his voice, not his words. Fast forward two albums later, and First Impressions on Earth finds that once hazy, addictive voice now crystal clear, front and center, thus leaving any weakness in the lyrics vulnerable. With Room on Fire, the Strokes found a balance that kept their sound both appealing and rewarding


This leads me to my original point: Room on Fire is the Strokes best work. i find the songs to be much more memorable than on the debut, and I think there’s a successful mix of being able to articulate what Casablancas is singing about with the guitar riffs that should be, and often are, pushed to the forefront. Therefore, whether one likes the band’s earliest material, or their more commercial efforts, it’s here. I mean, “Reptilia” is arguably the band’s most well-know song, and it’s the epitome of my point. The guitar line is excellent, it’s catchy, and the vocals oscillate between indistinguishable and clear, with the lines “I know you’re not boring” and “I’m not drowning fast enough” being instantly memorable. It’s not even close to good poetry, but Casablancas sells it with his charismatic vocal performance.


What truly makes Room on Fire the band’s finest work, however, is its consistency. Now, the biggest complaint i’ve seen leveled against this sophomore work is that it’s a case of deja vu, but to these ears “What Ever Happened?” is a much better opener than “Is This It,” and this is in large part, again, because of the guitar work. It’s infectious and sets the tone and rhythm for what follows. Yes, the band’s sound from their previous effort has carried over, but even though that’s true, it sounds much more developed and nostalgic. I’ll take 12:51’s guitar line over nearly anything on Is This It. It’s a simple riff, but it’s dripping with nostalgia and because of its ability to evoke emotion it’s the album’s best. And the same goes for “Automatic Stop.” The guitar work when Casablancas is singing “wait, i’m gonna give it a break” is pure perfection and one of the band’s finest moments.


If there’s any fault with the Room on Fire it's that nothing quite matches the first four songs. “Meet Me in the Bathroom” is the worst offender, but “You Talk Way Too Much” and “Under Control” find the Strokes establishing the album’s style while demonstrating their ability to be consistently catchy.Is This It will always hold the title as the Strokes magnum opus, as its importance cannot be understated, but Room on Fire is where the Strokes peaked. The vocal prowess, the guitar lines, the unparalleled energy, it’s all present, and refined in such a way that I seldom need any of their other material.



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user ratings (1966)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Senor_Whippy (3)
...

drjisftw (4.5)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it....

barcafan21 (3)
Is This It? 0.5...

Rudd13 (4.5)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
SteakByrnes
February 3rd 2017


30135 Comments


But does this have an ass as the cover art?

Check and mate

SonOfIceAndFire
February 3rd 2017


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What are your thoughts towards their third release, First Impressions Of Earth?

I think Ize Of The World is their best track, and it perfectly fits your second paragraph's description of a good Strokes song.

BigPleb
February 3rd 2017


65799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Reptilia is classic.

bloc
February 3rd 2017


70400 Comments


Definitely a classic album

LethalPaintball
February 3rd 2017


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"The Strokes best work" no that's "Is This It"



either way good review

WatchItExplode
February 3rd 2017


10480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules so hard

Trebor.
Emeritus
February 4th 2017


59912 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

vmcoia91 siting holy shit!



Nice review

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2017


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Fuck this album

SteakByrnes
February 4th 2017


30135 Comments


"Fuck this album"

has it rated a 3

ZippaThaRippa
February 4th 2017


10671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sputnik 3 might as well be a 2

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2017


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's overrated as shit, but it's not BAD per se. It'd be a 2.5 without Reptilia

SteakByrnes
February 4th 2017


30135 Comments


@Zippa I love your gif

ZippaThaRippa
February 4th 2017


10671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The end has noooooooo eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeend

SteakByrnes
February 4th 2017


30135 Comments


Reptilia is the only song of theirs I even know

ZippaThaRippa
February 4th 2017


10671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do you like it?

SteakByrnes
February 4th 2017


30135 Comments


Yea, I'm not sure why I've never delved into their music to be honest. Would this be the place to start? Or should I start with the booty?

ZippaThaRippa
February 4th 2017


10671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Start with whatever calls to you the most. My favorite Strokes song is Visions of Division.

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2017


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I only listened to them because of Reptilia and I was disappointed until First Impressions and then everything was good

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2017


26419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Zippa that one is rad af

SteakByrnes
February 4th 2017


30135 Comments


The booty calls to me, I'll start with that and see what all the hubbub is about



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