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Comedown Machine Image
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68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 45 Critics What's this?

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7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 232 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fifth full-length studio release for the alternative rock band led by Julian Casablancas.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
  1. Mar 22, 2013
    90
    This record is fun, it’s exuberant, and it’s diverse--and yet nothing sounds unnatural or feels crowbarred in.
  2. Mar 18, 2013
    80
    They’ve returned with their most thought provoking, strange and sexiest record yet.
  3. Comedown Machine is, essentially, The Strokes' 1980s album.
  4. Mar 25, 2013
    61
    The deeply uncool Comedown Machine smacks of effort.... Still, the limitations of Comedown Machine's protracted diversity all come back to Casablancas, a man with wide range as a listener and extremely narrow range as a musician.
  5. Mar 25, 2013
    60
    Comedown Machine remains a pretty good album, possibly the least characteristic thing they've released to date.
  6. Mar 26, 2013
    50
    The Strokes’ hallmarks--those lean melodies, that steely interplay among guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr. and bassist Nikolai Fraiture, the urgency of Julian Casablancas’s vocals--are largely absent on Comedown Machine, their fifth studio album. In their place is a looseness that’s refreshing enough, until you realize these guys are perhaps running short on ideas.
  7. The Guardian
    Mar 21, 2013
    40
    For the most part, this sounds like a band running low on ideas, or motivation, or the indefinable magic that makes a band a band.

See all 45 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 48
  2. Negative: 2 out of 48
  1. Mar 28, 2013
    10
    Wow... I stay impressed with The Strokes, totally different from their previous Albums, and believe you me not a bad thing; Tracks like "TapWow... 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
  2. Apr 10, 2013
    10
    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 ViceHow 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 record...it 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
  3. Mar 27, 2013
    9
    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 arePlease 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
  4. Mar 28, 2017
    8
    This Strokes album will always be the 'difficult' one of the bands discography, awkward and understated, seemingly falling under the radar asThis Strokes album will always be the 'difficult' one of the bands discography, awkward and understated, seemingly falling under the radar as much as is possible from such a big group. With no real advertisement and pushed out at the end of a five-album contract, it's easy to dismiss this as an unnecessary and bland project that even the band did not vocally back with confidence.

    But to do so would be to miss out on what is genuinely an entertaining and well-put-together LP. When it's taken out of context, away from the ever-present dominance of their first two efforts, there are a lot of good moments on here. The opener 'Tap Out' is a great track to kick things off and introduce us to the slick, stripped-back sounds that pepper the rest of the album. From there, 'One Way Trigger' kicks things up a notch, only to be quietened down by the laid-back vocals of 'Welcome To Japan'. Other moments like 'Chances' show a softer, sadder side to the Strokes, and it finishes on an obscure note with 'Call It Fate, Call It Karma'.

    This is not the pinnacle of The Strokes achievements, artistically or otherwise. But it is absolutely worth your time and opens up new dialogue about the possibilities of this New York five-piece and the direction they look to take in the future. There is a lot to get lost in with 'Comedown Machine', the anomaly of the Strokes back catalogue.
    Expand
  5. Mar 26, 2013
    8
    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 ditched12 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?
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  6. Mar 29, 2017
    7
    Some really cohesive, catchy and new-wave flavoured, classic strokes songs on here such as:
    "Tap Out", "Welcome To Japan" and "Partners In
    Some really cohesive, catchy and new-wave flavoured, classic strokes songs on here such as:
    "Tap Out", "Welcome To Japan" and "Partners In Crime". There are also some eery and atmospheric cuts on here like "80's Comedown Machine" and "Call it Fate Call It Karma". An interesting track is "50/50" which is a more punky and aggressive strokes song, but it seems to fit in the album quite nicely. There are a couple of slow burners available too, such as "Slow Animals, "Chances" and "Happy Ending". Finally, there are a couple of fillers to bulk out the tracklist here to, in "One Way Trigger" and "All The Time".

    *Some really good tracks here and the album provides a lot of diversity, new wave, punk, ballad etc.
    *Julian's vocals prove to be the biggest flaw of the album, singing out of range & a poor falsetto.
    *Lyrically the album is subtle and tidy, overall very strong.
    *FAVE TRACK: "Tap Out" and "Welcome To Japan". (9/10 songs)
    *WORST TRACK: "All The Time" (5/10 song)

    RATING SCORE:
    1. Tap Out = 9/10
    2. All The Time = 5/10
    3. One Way Trigger = 6/10
    4. Welcome To Japan = 9/10
    5. 80's Comedown Machine = 8/10
    6. 50/50 = 8/10
    7. Slow Animals = 7/10
    8. Partners In Crime = 8/10
    9. Chances = 7/10
    10. Happy Ending = 7/10
    11. Call It Fate, Call It Karma = 7/10

    OVERALL ALBUM SCORE = 7.4 out of 10.
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  7. Apr 17, 2013
    1
    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 giveI'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

See all 48 User Reviews