Room On Fire - The Strokes

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Pretty much everything a second album needs to be, it's like Is This It but more emotional, more colourful, slightly better. [Nov 2003, p.102]
  2. 91
    Room's similarity to its predecessor ultimately bespeaks a purity of vision, not a dearth of new ideas. [Dec 2003, p.121]
  3. The Strokes don't make the most original sounding music you've ever heard, but they make something that is only The Strokes.
  4. ‘Room On Fire’ is a refining and tinkering with The Strokes sound, a carefully calibrated attempt not to fuck up too early in the face of untold temptations. The results are still sleek, sexy and thrilling, with a tantalising promise of even better to come.
  5. Better than its predecessor. [Dec 2003, p.150]
  6. An adrenaline-fueled head-rush of precision-perfect pop tunes about modern life.
  7. There's so much more musical depth on Room on Fire, that it makes most of the band's earlier songs sound stale in comparison.
  8. The album is arguably better than the group's much-heralded debut, if by "better" we just mean more sonically impressive overall.
  9. Room on Fire is a passionate, 32-minute burning effigy of the seemingly insurmountable expectations fans and critics had for the record.
  10. 84
    It literally sounds like the Strokes, but it lacks heart. Which means it replicates the first album in form, but not substance. [#8, p.100]
  11. Jun 6, 2013
    [Casablancas] builds atmosphere out of evocative lyrics and emotional scenery, and he does it without leaning on linear narrative or songs with singular interpretations.
  12. Frankly, this is it all over again.
  13. That there's nothing new or innovative to be found here is sure to be a common complaint, though only those who prize evolution over knowing one's strengths will cry fraud.
  14. 80
    [Casablancas'] remarkable performance enlivens even the album's most underwhelming passages. [Nov 2003, p.108]
  15. This compressed feel, the precision of the band's playing and arrangements, and the way every song comes to an abrupt stop sometimes make the album sound too closed-off.
  16. In the face of hysterical expectation, the Strokes have resisted the temptation to hit the brakes, grow up and screw around with a sound that doesn't need fixing -- yet.
  17. On Room On Fire, the band has the good sense to do what it does best and leave listeners wanting more.
  18. Great, better even than the last.
  19. Room on Fire is the sound of a tighter, more focused band.
  20. Anyone who invested anything in Is This It is destined to walk away from Room On Fire a little disappointed. [31 Oct 2003, p.71]
  21. 70
    The Strokes come across as a world-sized band that's tethering itself.... Nonetheless, this record is good. [Nov 2003, p.124]
  22. It’s a better album than Is This It, but then again, so were a dozen other rock records that year.
  23. Sounds like it was recorded in a tin can and constructed from leftovers off the group's debut.
  24. 60
    The fine distinction between cool and blase, aloof and distant, seems to have eluded them. [Nov 2003, p.106]
  25. A roaring opener, a trio of great potential singles and a remarkable slow number successfully divert attention from the fact that half of Room on Fire is uninspired filler.
  26. 60
    There's something undeniably mechanical about Room On Fire. [#61, p.107]
  27. There's nothing about the quintet's second album that audibly acknowledges the impact of its debut.
  28. The central flaw of Room on Fire is the lack of hooks.
  29. Even the half-hearted retreads ("You Talk Way Too Much," "Between Love & Hate") cashing in on the notoriously unwashed NYC quintet's debut can't muster a wink.
  30. There's little of the pop sparkle that shone through the likes of 'The Modern Age' and 'Last Nite' even when - as with 'You Talk Way Too Much' - they're rewriting old material, and Julian's vocals are, to be blunt, awful, sounding uncomfortable to record and rather complacently nasal.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 213 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 114
  2. Negative: 11 out of 114
  1. OliverP
    Jun 3, 2005
    The idea is not a bad one, but the same idea is repeated over and over. On 12:51, Julian Casablancas must be the only singer I have ever heard who sounds just like another guitar. One of the most over-rated bands around. Full Review »
  2. rachelz
    Aug 17, 2004
    yea, i know they're filthy rich kids who got their career moving through daddy's wallet, and, to make matters more annoying, flaunt their hypocritical bohemia more than their musical chops, this album is decent...but by no means great. if they just played the damn songs instead of trying ultra hard to make themselves sound low-fi and "cool", as if there really is some desperation on the line (like these guys couldn't hang back out in their daddies' penthouses on the upper east side if their music didn't work out). the velvets did the low-budget, feedback thang almost 40 years ago--and did it much better and more provocatively. not to mention "psychocadndy" 20 years ago by the jamc. it's time to move on. basically, less thrift store "really, i'm not loaded" juvenile schtick and more production would probably equal more sincerity and honesty, which would help the songs out immensely. and i would probably listen to it again. Full Review »
  3. PanchoV
    Oct 2, 2003
    Another quality release, go download it, then buy it