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. The central flaw of Room on Fire is the lack of hooks.
  2. The Strokes don't make the most original sounding music you've ever heard, but they make something that is only The Strokes.
  3. ‘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.
  4. Frankly, this is it all over again.
  5. 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.
  6. Room on Fire is a passionate, 32-minute burning effigy of the seemingly insurmountable expectations fans and critics had for the record.
  7. An adrenaline-fueled head-rush of precision-perfect pop tunes about modern life.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Room on Fire is the sound of a tighter, more focused band.
  13. 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.
  14. Sounds like it was recorded in a tin can and constructed from leftovers off the group's debut.
  15. 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.
  16. The album is arguably better than the group's much-heralded debut, if by "better" we just mean more sonically impressive overall.
  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. It’s a better album than Is This It, but then again, so were a dozen other rock records that year.
  20. There's nothing about the quintet's second album that audibly acknowledges the impact of its debut.
  21. 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.
  22. 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]
  23. Better than its predecessor. [Dec 2003, p.150]
  24. 80
    [Casablancas'] remarkable performance enlivens even the album's most underwhelming passages. [Nov 2003, p.108]
  25. 70
    The Strokes come across as a world-sized band that's tethering itself.... Nonetheless, this record is good. [Nov 2003, p.124]
  26. 60
    The fine distinction between cool and blase, aloof and distant, seems to have eluded them. [Nov 2003, p.106]
  27. 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]
  28. 91
    Room's similarity to its predecessor ultimately bespeaks a purity of vision, not a dearth of new ideas. [Dec 2003, p.121]
  29. 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]
  30. 60
    There's something undeniably mechanical about Room On Fire. [#61, p.107]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 201 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 114
  2. Negative: 11 out of 114
  1. Nov 2, 2013
    [9.1] The Strokes are bitter, depressing, and unmistakably a train wreck of a band which they know perfectly well, and have no problem hiding it. Room On Fire does exactly that. In the most passively aggressive, restrained album that a suspected rock revival band could possibly make, The Strokes appeal only to those with low expectations. Room On Fire is designed to trap you, and I don't know whether The Strokes do this intentionally or unintentionally, but it works pretty god damn well. If you listen to this album once, it's quite clear that there is only one radio friendly track. I beg of you, listen to this album more than once. You will eventually become trapped. Once you realize that the guitars are perfectly harmonized, the tedious drum beats are discretely catchy, and that this album is not a repeat of their first, you will become trapped. Their sound might seem plain, but once you think about it, who (with any knowledge of music) wouldn't recognize The Strokes? Now ten years after the release of this album, and after the release of three complete messes of albums (two of which I must say I did enjoy), this may seem far out of context, but it isn't. Room On Fire isn't just fluent, it is discretely nostalgic. The incredibly small change in production style is the difference between being in a boat or an airplane, a forest or a desert, a theater or a hallway. The environment is certainly different, but you don't notice that it changes the context of your conversations. Room On Fire is a miracle. It's completely careless music that, in reflection, is fully thoughtful. Full Review »
  2. Aug 13, 2013
    I have never liked a album this much. Every album they make is great, but with this one they completely blew it out of the water. I'ts definitely my favorite album. Full Review »
  3. Jun 15, 2013
    Room on Fire is an amazing sequel album. It continues with the raw energy and beautiful melodies and lyrics that Is This It had, but expands them with a bigger kick. It's a great sounding album with tons of powerful tunes. Full Review »