Comedown Machine - The Strokes
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Generally favorable reviews- based on 159 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 159

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  1. Mar 26, 2013
    12 years makes a hell of a difference, doesn't it? The Strokes used to be the picture of sleazy New York City cool; nowadays, they've ditched the denim jackets and untamed afros for tight leather and hair gel. The Strokes used to be hailed as the saviors of rock; nowadays, Julian Casablancas' adoration for 80s synth pop shines more than ever. One thing has remained the same through all these years, though: The Strokes are still The Strokes. Don't get me wrong, there aren't many parts of this album that'll make you recall that "vintage" Strokes sound. The high twangy guitars from "Someday," the detached growls of "Last Nite," and the disorganized defiance of "Take it or Leave It" are nowhere to be found. The stripped-down style that characterized Is This It has been traded for tight production and a fierce attention to detail. Despite this, Comedown Machine feels more like a Strokes album than anything since Room on Fire.

    "50/50," for example, hits you with a ferocity reminiscent of Room on Fire's "Reptilia," featuring a chorus that stretches Casablancas' signature yell to its limit. "Partners in Crime" possesses some of the finest bass work we've seen yet from Nikolai Fraiture and a rhythm guitar line from Albert Hammond Jr. that just does not stop. Ever. You just have to tune yourself in to it. See, The Strokes haven't completely ditched their sound, they've just added to it. Even where they experiment, Julian and the gang still show signs of being that group that captured our hearts in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. Opener "Tap Out" and "Welcome to Japan" showcase Nick Valensi's eye for precise melody while still allowing his frontman to question "What kind of drives a Lotus?" in signature croon. Lead track (and don't call it a single unless you feel facing the ire of Is This It apologists who hang on to the early days throwback "All The Time" as a sign that the old Strokes are coming back) "One Way Trigger" is an album highlight despite being far different than anything Casablancas and Crew have ever released. The initial reaction for listeners will undoubtedly be "Wow, this is Take on Me. This is seriously Take on Me." Like much of the rest of the album, "One Way Trigger" is absolutely influenced by 80s pop, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. 80s pop was fun. "Take on Me" is fun. I'm sure many of you find yourselves still singing along whenever it comes on the radio.

    So despite all the changing, The Strokes are still fun. Isn't that why we liked them in the first place? We were all so infatuated with New York City sleaze that The Strokes simply allowed us to express our interests through music. In this sense, the 2001 Strokes were a band that made a trend accessible. Perhaps the 2013 Strokes are just trying to do the same? Of course, who knows where they'll go from here, now that their 5 record contract is over and done with? They've given no indication that they want to tour this album, nor have they given it significant press. The entire thing, from the throwback label to the relative haste it was produced with, seems like an "F you!" to the record label. The entire thing reeks of nonchalance, and isn't that as Strokesy as it gets?
  2. Mar 27, 2013
    Please do yourself a favor and listen to this album, and try not to compare it to Is This It or Room on Fire because the similarities are minimal. Instead, the Strokes have a produced a thoughtful and strange record that is an absolute blast. It's a fantastic record, and I thoroughly recommend it. Standout tracks like "Tap Out" and "Welcome to Japan" flow greatly into slower pieces like "Slow Animals" and "Chances". No obvious skips, just a great album. Expand
  3. Mar 26, 2013
    It's very different from other albums, but it's really really really good! :D the "Old Strokes fans" are probably going to be pissed, but i sincerely think it's a great album.

    Songs like "All the Time", "Tap Out", "Slow Animals", the punk "50/50", the ballad "Chances" and even the odd "One Way Trigger" are enough to make this album a great piece of music.

    Totally recommend it!
  4. Mar 27, 2013
    i really enjoyed this album. like other users have said, this album is very different and Julians interest with 80s synth stuff is very present. That being said, the album really deserved a better critic score. I think people who listen to CM need to listen to it without any of expectations of "is this it" greatness.
    I really enjoyed this album and its slightly disheartening that one of
    my favorite bands received such scores for something that deserved more Expand
  5. Mar 27, 2013
    For me, Comedown Machine is The Strokes best album since Is This It. All the songs on the album gel together perfectly and unlike previous albums, every song (with the exception of 80's Comedown Machine) is extremely enjoyable. My personal favourites from this album are 50/50, Partners in Crime, All The Time, Slow Animals, Happy Endings and One Way Trigger.
  6. Mar 26, 2013
    The Strokes took a turn into more popular music, which sounds like another solo album of Julian Casablancas. Don't get me wrong, The Strokes are doing a fine job, even in this last release Comedown Machine, but they aren't getting closer to what they did at the start of the Millennium. Comedown Machine is well produced one but The Strokes sounds like an old band recording an album without any special effort to impress or surprise anyone. That's not what I was expecting from this young fellows (5 Songs Per Artist Blog)
  7. Mar 26, 2013
    This album makes it clear that The Strokes weren't simply trying to emulate a specific genre of the late 70s and 80s, but the entire decade. Keep that in mind while listening.
  8. Mar 28, 2013
    Wow... I stay impressed with The Strokes, totally different from their previous Albums, and believe you me not a bad thing; Tracks like "Tap Out" "All The Time" 'One way Trigger" Even, "Welcome to Japan" Yes, I am telling you this Album is good very different but so damn good, Although, all of my friends are not happy with it, I still recommend it to you. And that is just half of the songs, the reason why you might have problems liking this album could be the fact that Julian keeps his voice higher in some of these songs, something we are not used to. "80 's Comedown Machine" almost made me cry by far, my Favorite from the Album. "Slow Animals" and "Chances" two more songs that prove this Album is Fantastic and The Strokes have not lost their touch. The last track, something completely different yet, I find myself relaxing and loving it just as much... Don't be so quick to dismiss this album, it is definately worth a second chance... Again, I recommend this to you. Expand
  9. Mar 27, 2013
    I love bands like The Strokes, bands that change over the course of their career, band that don't stuck or stay on their comfort zone, once the created a sound, and keep releasing the same albums all over again. Every album by this band is quite different from the last one. What if The Strokes keep releasing Is This It? for the same 10 years? Then people would be complaining about it, and why they're releasing the same songs for a decade. Although is quite different from what they've done before, is still The Strokes sound, it's a great album, with the exception of the title track, which I found it lil' bit boring, that's why I'm givin' it a 9/10. Thank you Strokes for evolving and being innovative and not being stuck. with the same sound. Expand
  10. Mar 26, 2013
    Thank God for the Strokes!! With perhaps the exception of their third album, it's really difficult to listen to a Strokes record without a big stupid grin on your face and a feeling of pure happiness that you're alive to hear it. And this is coming from a pretty cynical person here, seriously I hate a lot of things, more than probably the average cynic, but this is a band that, although seemingly unable to break out from the shadow of their seminal debut, are simply happy to make music that gives you a yummy feeling inside! Those B######s! Expand
  11. Sep 25, 2013
    They're The Strokes. Of course everyone is going to give 9's and 10's without even listening to the album. I love them, but this is awful. The worst part of it is that is is just boring. It starts out decent, although you know it is not even a shade on anything they've done previously. After the likeable 50/50, it just fizzles out and fades away. This made 'Angles' sound epic. That's saying something. Expand
  12. Mar 26, 2013
    This is it, their finest album since their debut. I was apprehensive when I first heard (in January) that the album's release was in March. Seemed to me like they rushed their final, contract-obligated album out the door to escape RCA (for whatever reason), but that's simply not the case. The Strokes sound like they're having a blast in this album. It's not love at first listen like "Is This it?", but I'll be damned if it doesn't include some of their best and catchiest work to date. The songs are varied, unpredictable, and exhibit an unwillingness to conform to the recent waves of "pop" and "alternative" (not that there's anything wrong with those). It's not like this album is "mainstream" or "genre-defying" because, as one critic aptly puts it, "[This] is The Strokes' 1980s album," and it certainly is. I don't know if this is The Strokes' ode to a bygone era of music, or simply their new direction as musicians, but it doesn't matter. The album shines from beginning to end, only faltering once or twice along the way (in the middle of the album specifically). I'm not going to review each track individually, the album is made the be listened to as a whole, but I can mention some standouts: "All the Time" perhaps an ode to their original fans, this is the most "Strokesy" song on the album, "Partners in Crime" some of the riffs here remind me of a Tom Petty song, "Welcome to Japan" I had heard somewhere Julian Casablancas (you better know who he is) was a big fan of David Bowie, here it shows, "Slow Animals" this was the first song I heard and could instantly FEEL it, kind of when I listen to The National, and finally "Chances" this is a slower one, and maybe this one just rings true for me but it's a great breakup song. The rest of the album leaves nothing to be desired either. It's a unique, fun, full sounding record that really shows how far The Strokes have come as musicians. Don't listen to the haters who say this isn't The Strokes anymore; of course its not. It's been 12 years since "Is this it?" people; how many of you haven't changed over the same period, be it for better or worse? Thankfully, The Strokes seem to be changing for the better, maturing in an unexpected but pleasantly surprising way, leaving me excited for what they'll do next. Let's just hope the end of the RCA record label doesn't mean the end of The Strokes (and I can't live a fulfilled life knowing I'll never see them play the final minute of "Welcome to Japan" live--preferably in Japan). Expand
  13. May 21, 2013
    “Drifting, you don’t wanna know what’s going down.”

    This line from “Tap Out,” the first song from The Strokes’ new album, Comedown Machine, encapsulates the effect fame and fortune has upon creativity. The Strokes’ first album, Is This It (2001) is widely hailed as one of the most mercurial debut albums of all time: the five New Yorkers unleashed staccato guitars, live drums recorded
    such that they sounded as though they’d been forced through innumerable drum machines, a healthy dollop of Velvet Underground mystique, and the reek of stale beer and forgettable sex upon a public long starved of unadulterated rock. The Strokes seemed hungry. Julian Casablancas sang through a fuzzbox, with a blocked nose that belied condensation on windowpanes, cold feet, the sogginess of cold pizza. Nikolai Fraiture on bass began each song’s bass line slowly, as though his fingers were still numb from the draught in his apartment. Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi passed riffs and rhythm lines between them like the final cigarette in the pack: careful not to take too much, but knowingly taking more than they felt they should. And Fabrizio Moretti pounded the bass drum as though hoping to shake the damp from his shoes. Is This It was recorded for almost nothing in a studio with almost nothing in it, with almost nothing on the walls except a tattered poster of a Victoria’s Secret model.

    Twelve years later, and The Strokes have long lost their lean and hungry look. I wanted to love Comedown Machine–they’re one of my all-time favourite bands. Sadly, it sounds as though the band is just “drifting,” willingly ignorant of the downward trajectory their music has gradually begun to take. There is one brilliant song on Comedown Machine, there is a good song, and there are a few blandly all-right tracks.

    This brilliant song is “Welcome To Japan.” On their last album, Angles (2011), The Strokes went in a more electronic direction. The guitars now competed with lush synths in the mix, shifting the music towards disco and away from the angular, brittle rock they’d created earlier in their career. “Welcome To Japan” strikes the perfect balance between the two. A four-to-the-floor disco beat anchors a hauntingly minor-key song– “didn’t know the gun was loaded,” Casablancas plaintively cries. The staccato guitars are back, but only for a little while: the notes gradually go from being distorted and rocky to becoming almost like the airy brushing of the keys on a keyboard. It merits repeated listening, and bears a slight similarity to the stunning “The Chauffeur” by Duran Duran.

    The good song is “Slow Animals.” It has a hushed quality not unlike The Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition,” and is sung, like that song, in a gentle falsetto (something Casablancas uses with mixed results elsewhere on the album). The guitars echo; a synth runs up and down arpeggios with dizzying speed. The chorus, however, is jarring. The gentleness is abandoned for rousing, Coldplay-like ululations. Like so many other songs on the album, “Slow Animals” sees the band capture a mood but become too lazy to keep it alive for the song’s duration.

    This wouldn’t be such a travesty if it weren’t for the fact that The Strokes were once masters of capturing a mood. In its finest moments, Is This It conveyed the ringing silence and bleary eyes of the morning after a big night as perfectly as The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” did decades before. Songs on Comedown Machine like “Tap Out” and “All The Time” are evidence of abandoned moods. These songs have the classic elements of Strokes songs–guitar interplay, Casablancas’ hungover croon– but no soul. The chorus of “All The Time” consists exactly of the obliqueness The Strokes founded their image upon: ‘All the time that I need/ is never quite enough.’ The trouble is, it just feels pretentious here. These are the insipid noodlings of musicians who’ve made it so big that they don’t feel the burning desire to make it any more.

    This is the album people make when they’ve become so comfortable lounging by the poolside in Beverley Hills sunshine that they don’t want to lock themselves in a damp recording studio, hungrily creating art while staring at the tattered poster of a Victoria’s Secret model on the wall. However, I feel that when the eulogies of The Strokes are written, Comedown Machine will be cited as the first sign of the ultimately terminal illness that is self-satisfaction.
  14. Mar 26, 2013
    "Comedown Machine" can't even hold a light up to the classic "Is This It".. yet it manages to be the best album since the very good "Room on Fire". While the best tracks "First Impressions of Earth' and "Angles" eclipse any on "Comedown Machine" (see You Only Live Once, Heart in a Cage, Undercover of Darkness, Taken for a Fool, Machu Piccu and Gratisfaction being the best from album 3&4), Comedown Machine manages to be a better more complete album as a whole, partially because there are no extreme low moments like FIoE and Angles had (see practically every other song on FIoE, You're So Right, Metabolism being the worst from 3&4).
    This album, unlike the last two, is decisive on a style, and even if its unlike the great style we heard on Is This It, they made a plan and worked with it. It's a lot of fun, with some great songs mixed in with a lot of pretty good ones. (Great ones= Call it Fate Call it Karma, One Way Trigger, 80's Comedown Machine). Don't expect to have your mind blown.. hopefully that comes next time. Solid 7.5
  15. Apr 10, 2013
    How do I know a rock record is worth a listen? Pitchfork trashes it. The Strokes are not cool anymore and this obvious to anyone with a Vice subscription and some sharply styled oxfords. But who cares what's cool? This is a very good record. The 80's synth pop/new wave influence is obvious but it's layered on top of the Strokes sound of old. Casablancas has evolved his vocals and at first I wasn't vibing all of his different stylings on the was a little too all over the place. But after a few listens I realized that it fits with the songs well, and it wasn't done simply for the sake of diversity. He pulls it off. The rest of the band comes as expected if not surprisingly good and the song writing is the best its been in awhile. I can highly recommend this record to anyone who enjoys a good pop/rock record. Give it a couple of listens all the way through because it took a few times for it to really sink just how good it is. Expand
  16. Apr 17, 2013
    I've heard a lot about this band and their supposedly amazing debut, but I haven't got around to listening to it yet. But I decided to give their latest release a try, seeing as it could well be the group's last album. Well, if that's the case, they're not going out with a bang. This is one of the weirdest albums I've ever heard barely audible voices, awful vocals, lyrics I can't make head or tail of, and a bunch of odd noises that send me reeling. It seems like something thrown together for a joke. The lead single, All The Time, is practically a crime against music. The only decent song is closing track, Call It Fate, Call It Karma, which is a beautiful ballad and a glimpse into what the album could have been. I've heard a lot of fans say that their debut was their opus and they slowly declined from there, so I'm surprised that most of them seem satisfied with this. I expected more effort from a final album. Expand
  17. Mar 26, 2013
    Though this is a lot different than Is This It, it's still a good album in my opinion. A few songs actually remind me of Is This It and Angles (never listened to Room on Fire or First Impressions...). Again, in my opinion, still a good album.

    Also, consider this a 7.5 instead of an eight.

    No matter what they say, the last track rules...
  18. Aug 18, 2013
    [5.5] I enjoyed this album but I realize it's pretty awful. As much as I love The Strokes, I can't in the right mind give this a good score. Hopefully by their next record they'll realize they don't need to change their style. They will only be known for the real rock music that made them.
  19. Mar 27, 2013
    The new album is better than i thought it would be. it's like i'm hearing something completely different and new, not just for The Strokes but in general. Kudos for the courage, in my opinion, it paid off. Favourite Tracks: Tap Out, All The Time, Welcome To Japan, Slow Animals, Chances.
  20. Apr 15, 2013
    great album more rockier fading than before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  21. Mar 28, 2013
    This album is their best since Room on Fire. Simply brilliant. Perhaps my favourite of theirs. Love it when they go all out and try something brand new, and with this one it seems like they were having fun with it and just letting all inhibitions go. Much more clear and collected than Angles, not as all over the place and miss matched.. 50/50, Happy Ending and Welcome to Japan are the stand out tracks. They even do a Jazz/ Croon/ 40's/ Weird song to finish it. it may be one weird album, but its one good one.I JUST LOVE THIS ALBUM SO MUCH. Expand
  22. Mar 29, 2013
    The Strokes maintain their cool persona, with this different although relevant album. The Strokes delivered what any previous fan, or first-time listener could have anticipated. on one side, there are the people who wish the strokes would return to their garage rock origins, and they do so with instant classics such as "Welcome to Japan" and "50/50". On the contrary, there are those who are looking for The Strokes to develop into not what was relevant 12 years ago, but to what is applicable today. All in all, this is a great album, with plenty of variation. Expand
  23. Sep 14, 2013
    Very disappointing, I was hoping the similarly underwhelming Angles was due to a bit of rustiness but apparently not. Casablancas sounds odd throughout, and too many songs rely on quirky twee high-pitched guitar work that quickly becomes irritating. All the time proves they haven't lost the ability to make brilliant garage-rock anthems but evidently they just don't want to anymore.
  24. Jun 19, 2013
    Comedown Machine has been receiving fair critical praise and has been said to be "their best work since Is This It." Now if you ask me, I think The Strokes are one of the greatest bands of this generation and will go down along with Radiohead, Vampire Weekend as this generations greatest contributors to music. I also think that all of The Strokes albums have been masterpieces, none fall short to me. So I may be a little bias giving this review, what with me having a gigantic boner for Julian and the boys, but regardless, this album is perfection. Expand
  25. May 21, 2013
    Listen to "Slow Animals", "Chances", "Happy Ending", "Tap Out", "Welcome to Japan"... You know what? Listen to the whole thing! It's amazing and the only track you might want to skip will be the last one, and that just because you'd feel like "Happy Ending" would be a much better... Ending! Their best album since "Is This It". With their first album, they brought us back the best of rock and roll. Now they're bringing us back the best of pop music... You know what decade I'm talking about! Expand
  26. Apr 4, 2014
    Comedown Machine kind of continues on from where Angles left off, moving further away from the classic Strokes sound yet still containing enough elements to allow to recognise the band at the helm. Lead single "One Way Trigger" is one of the bands stranger singles and at times is unrecongisable as The Strokes with a guitar sound disguised with A-Ha type synth sounds. While it lacks a classic tracks such as "Under cover of Darkness", Comedown Machine is every bit as good an album as Angles, both of which fall well short of the stands set by the bands first 2 records but equally far exceed the bands lazy and jaded third album. Comedown Machine shows a little of invention and adventure which at this stage of the bands career is vital in order to keep anyones interest alive. Expand
  27. Apr 5, 2013
    This latest album is quite different from their past albums, varying in electronic and dance music. If a band keep changing their style, it become refreshing, not like example Scorpions keep singing same stuffs all over the years, people got fed up. Go and buy this album.
  28. Apr 19, 2013
    I think it’s safe to say at this point that The Strokes can no longer be called “predictable”. On their new album Comedown Machine it’s clear that The Strokes are still uncompromising stylistically like what's been hinted at on their last couple albums. While this album does go in a bunch of directions, one thing I’ll say about it as a whole is that this is The Strokes at their most soulfuost soulful. Which is kinda weird considering singer Julian Casablancas’ distinctly apathetic vocal approach he trademarked in their past work, which was honestly a gripe I had with some of it. But here he’s gotten a bit more expressive and it can really compliment certain songs. The instrumentation’s been amped up in that department too; opener Tap Out has a pretty R&B-influenced groove running throughout, and Welcome to Japan, dare I say, borders on disco (which sounds a lot better than you’d expect The Strokes doing disco to sound). But that’s (like I said) not the only direction they go in on this album. The first taste we got from it was an odd number called One Way Trigger. It’s got acoustic guitars, synths high in the mix, and Casablancas singing in falsetto, which is practically unheard off in the Strokes catalog. Needless to say it was very polarizing. But I really liked it; it's catchy & showed that their recent experimental approach was no fluke. Next taste & lead single All the Time on the contrary is very reminiscent of classic Strokes circa 2003. It’s basically to this album what Under Cover of Darkness was to Angles; a nice little throwback that’s engaging & doesn't come off as an uninspired & desperate attempt to keep older fans happy. But my favorite song here is probably 80s Comedown Machine, a gorgeous 5-minute track that sounds inspired by modern dream-pop bands like Beach House. It’s got a steady & dreamy groove throughout driven by reverb-tinged guitar picking leads & a restrained & unusually emotional vocal performance from Casablancas. It puts you in a very relaxed state of mind & leaves you wanting to play it again & again. A similar feel is successfully shot for on Chances, which is a bit bigger-sounding, has a more defined structure & shows the return of that infamous falsetto, which I think Casablancas pulls off quite well. Other styles delved into include energetic punk rock (50/50), mid-tempo indie rock (Slow Animals), synth-tinged early 80’s classic rock (Partners in Crime), dance-rock chock full of handclap goodness (Happy Ending) & a surprisingly lo-fi closing track in Call It Fate, Call It Karma, a percussionless & reverb-laden track I can see on a vinyl record spinning on a turntable in the background of a 1940’s B-movie. One thing that rings clear throughout all songs here though is that lead guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has by this point pretty much mastered the art of the infectious guitar riff. And even the melodies presented in the solos get stuck in your head. There’s also a tight rhythm section running through this album that can really keep a groove going. I really have no gripes with this album. It represents everything I wanted in a follow-up to Angles; The Strokes just doing whatever they want & not giving a crap who likes it & who doesn't.

    Top 5 tracks: 80s Comedown Machine, One Way Trigger, All the Time, Tap Out, Partners in Crime
    Score: 95/100
  29. Mar 30, 2013
    Es un gran disco con un gran sonido pero como a la gente no le gustan los cambios reseñan pésimamente. Me gusto mucho el sonido de los 80 y supera por mucho a angles las mejores canciones son all the time, tap out, welcome to japan, 5050, slow animals, happy endings, partners in crime. one way trigger.
  30. Mar 31, 2013
    Comedown Machine needs to be listened to more than once to make an informed decision. This is not an album that immediately screams genius, like Is This It. It requires thought and an open mind to understand the purpose. CM stays true to the classic aura of the band; complex in its simplicity (I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but if you'll hear me out, I'll prove my point). Before anyone downloaded the LP or heard a single note, CM was subjected to a degree of prejudice and disregard that is unfair and ridiculous. Most critics, and fans, are not judging CM on its merits, but on the merits of Is This It or through the douchy hipster reaction to the bands' ITI hype (or the even more childish bias of socialism since the band came from an affluent background). It isn't fair to compare CM through the lens of Is This It because ITI is a masterpiece (regardless of what the cliche anti-establishment establishment says). That being said, Comedown Machine contains the same vibrancy and attitude of their former works, just in a new style for a new generation. The first time I heard the album, and the singles, I made the same mistake. I viewed CM throught the prism of Is This It and was disappointed by the differences. However the second time I listened, I noticed the large diamonds among the tracks: Welcome to Japan, All the Time, Partners in Crime, Tap Out, and 50/50. These songs are classic Strokes in their quality and intensity. The Strokes pack a lot of energy into 3 minutes without begging for attention. Their music leaves you feeling satisfied and eager for more; a state that few bands can achieve. Simplicity is the band's greatest asset. But, CM adds more to the formula.

    On the third listen, I discovered the hidden gems of the album: Happy Endings, Chances, One Way Trigger, Slow Animals, 80s CM, and Call it Fate, Call it Karma. Each of these songs stands on its own ground, delving into complex emotions in the right way. The music combines 80s new wave punk with modern style and the Strokes's brand of rock. Somehow, these songs make perfect sense and add to the depth of the album, as long as the listener is willing to give in to the group's perspective.

    I enjoy the sound, style, and energy of the album. It is consistent like Room on Fire with the potency of FIOE. The Strokes have a way of saying volumes with a simple musical gesture that is reminiscent of early 60s rock bands, like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Kinks. It is very difficult to be momentous and simplistic at the same time. The Strokes achieve that status without rubbing it in. In fact, the Strokes's attitude is like pissing on an a**hole's shoes to entertain your friends at a bar; you might gain a few new scars, but it's worth it for the memories. PS If you want to criticize the album, a few songs sound similar to other music. OWT's intro reminds many people of Aha's Take on Me, or some BS Mana song for Spanish listeners. I say, Who Cares! If we limit ourselves to only brand new ideas without any influences from the past, than pretty soon we will run out of ideas. Creativity combines elements of a person's personality with their perspective of the surrounding environment and reality. That being said, I don't believe the Strokes ripped off anything in CM. Does anyone honestly believe that Julian sat around one day and put on Aha and decided to remix it like some ridiculous rapper? Grow up people; the world's music catalog is gigantic and no one has heard everything or can remember everything he/she may have heard. The Strokes rock; if you care about the rest of the BS, then I feel sorry for you.
  31. Apr 5, 2013
    There is really no point in comparing any Strokes album to Is This It... or even Room On Fire, for that matter. Those two belong in the conversation for "greatest albums of all time" lists. Unfortunately, the three albums since all share the same flaw; the first halves are great, while the second halves are incredibly uneven. While Comedown Machine is guilty of that as well, it is less guilty than the previous two. It's a very fun record, and it sounds like it was recorded by a band who gave up trying to recreate Is This It as soon as it hit the shelves. Maybe it's time for us to move on, too, and appreciate them for all that they are; a band that is not afraid to take chances and incredible songwriters and musicians. Expand
  32. May 16, 2013
    To be honest, I was never a fan of the Strokes. I just wasn't on board for their brand of rock revival for some reason. However this new album I really enjoyed. I think his vocals are better served by the synth noises and electro beats that inhabit the sound here. If you love 80's new wave check it out.
  33. Jun 6, 2013
    Unfortunately, it does feel like the Strokes have fallen out of love with this album a bit. It feels pulled together and incomplete which is a pain because it has so much potential. There are some killer tracks on here (namely All the Time and 50/50) but it is inconsistent and I think the boys have a long way to go before they pick up the magic again.
  34. Jun 15, 2013
    Angles was completely different from anything The Strokes had ever done before, but now that Comedown Machine is out it's all clear why Angles was how it was. The Strokes had gone in a totally new direction with Angles, and that being their first time, was an alright approach. Comedown Machine is the direction they truly aimed to go though. The sound on Comedown is a bridge between their early stuff and Angles, forming a crisp, catchy new look on the band's style of playing. A pretty great homage to some of the 80's catchy tunes. Expand
  35. Jul 30, 2013
    I love this album, some songs completely keep to their original style "50/50 and Welcome To Japan." While others go in bold new directions that were previewed in angles "One Way Trigger and 80 's Comedown Machine." The rest are somewhere in between and are all great!
  36. Nov 11, 2013
    As with Angels, its a CD I can sit around and listen to from start to finish without ever getting tired out it. I'm not sure why I didn't review better. If you're a Strokes fan this is exactly what you'd expect as the next step from this band.
  37. Nov 12, 2013
    The main problem with this album is that it's constantly being compared to Is This It and Room on Fire. Next to them, this album looks off beat and strange, but we have to take into consideration that the band has been tired of playing formulaic post-punk for almost a decade now. Objectively, I see this as potentially being one of the top-100 albums of 2010-19. Julian's unique falsetto and the way the vocals blend into the music as opposed to taking the focal and the synths that sound like 80's with a modern breath make this a wonderful record, so long as you don't go in with the expectations of The Strokes famous post-punk spunk. Expand
  38. Feb 15, 2014
    Very very very very good album... Almost every song is a jewel but 'Chances' 'Tap out' and 'Karma' stand out. Best Strokes album, edging out First impressions my a smidgen. Keep going down this road Julian. It is super exciting!!
  39. Jul 22, 2014
    It's a strange record, but it's fun and great. It sounds like "Is This It?" as if it had been written in the 80's. Julian's voice really fits in the album, as he does falsetto here and there. If you liked Angels, you can't miss this one.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
  1. 40
    For all the loving homages to past recording techniques, they sound laboured and bored. [May 2013, p.84]
  2. Jun 4, 2013
    It’s wilful experimentation with no pay-off, sounding lonely, old, with only the occasional, tempting flicker of a genius that once burnt bright.
  3. May 10, 2013
    Comedown Machine may not quite hit the heights of the band's masterpiece-to-date, but it continues the band's healthy trend of finding curious new ways to twist and complicate its by-now instinctively recognizable sound. [No. 98, p.60]