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Room on Fire

4 out of 5 stars 442 customer reviews

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Room On Fire
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Audio CD, October 28, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

ROOM ON FIRE

Amazon.com

An acclaimed debut prompts one of two kinds of follow-ups: either the band strives to broaden their palate or they attempt to deepen the colors they splashed all over that heralded first effort. The Strokes' second outing falls in the latter camp. In the tradition of the Ramones' Leave Home and Oasis' (What's the Story) Morning Glory, the Strokes largely stay the course with their second full-length release, producing an album that won't cause the stir that its predecessor did, but has a sneaky appeal all its own. Thanks to the quintet's Lower East Side roots, Velvet Underground and Television references abound with these guys, but Boston new wavers the Cars, and in particular their hit-heavy second album, 1979's Candy-O, provide a more suitable point of reference for Room on Fire. As with Ric Ocasek and company, Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas and his cohorts have a Cars-like knack for sly riffs that creep deeper into ones consciousness with each listen. Not much longer than a half hour from start to finish, this 11-song is modest in intent and execution, and succeeds quite nicely on its own terms. --Steven Stolder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 28, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B0000C9ZLD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,744 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Look, I saw Television live in the seventies (as well as the nineties and in 2001), caught Iggy Pop, the Buzzcocks, the Feelies, Eleventh Dream Day, the Mekons, the Replacements, the Pixies, the dB's, Pere Ubu, Yo La Tenga, and a host of other indie, alternative, and punk acts at their peak. Although I didn't catch them live, I discovered Big Star a lot earlier than most, and the same with Richard Thompson (who I have seen often in the past twenty years). I think my indie credibility is intact. I am baffled by the negative reactions that these guys inexplicably generate. I personally consider them to be the best band to come out of New York since Television (qualification: on record; though they weren't a good studio band, the Feelies were as good live as anyone I have ever seen). No, they aren't as good and are definitely not as brilliant as Tom Verlaine and Co., but they are still one of the most gripping new bands of the past few years in my opinion.
So why do so many people hate the Strokes? I think the explanation is simple: they were overhyped. Or if not overhyped, hyped to a degree that many people found objectionable. I only gave their first album a listen after being put off by the absurd overreaction to their debut. Once I gave them a try, however, I was stunned and delighted at what a delightful and exciting band they were.
I liked this second album an awful lot even on first listen, but upon repeated listenings, I have come to like it as much as the first album. It starts off great with some enormously catchy songs in "What Ever Happened?" and "Reptilia," but then does something extraordinary: it gets better!
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Format: Audio CD
It makes me want to rip my hair out when this album is referred to as either a disappointment or not as good as their debut. "Room on Fire" is superior, in every imaginable way possible, to "Is This It?" Here's an overlong, irrefragable, and completely accurate explanation why:

To begin with, one needs to remember the musical landscape into which the Strokes' debut album was released. The years 1999, 2000 and 2001 comprise the absolute nadir for rock music in America in my lifetime, and quite possibly since the invention of rock itself. Too grand of a statement? Feel free to head over to rocklists.com and compare the year-end hit lists of KROQ, the nation's most powerful alternative/modern rock station, from these three years to ANY other year listed. (To save you a trip: the top three songs in 2000 were by Papa Roach, Incubus and Three Doors Down.) If you're older than 22, you'll probably remember these as the years your friends claimed they could no longer listen to the radio. It was into this post-apocalyptic rape-rock landscape that the Strokes' debut album was released. "Is This It?" sounds great on its own; against a backdrop of Limp Bizkit it sounded like manna from heaven. This is the reason the Strokes were the single most hyped indie band since, like, ever. You know how they claim there can never be another Beatles because there's simply too much music out there for any one band to dominate it so thoroughly? A slightly shifted analogy applies to the Strokes: there can never be another band as hyped because music will probably never be that bad again. And why did music get good again? Why are indie bands going platinum and dominating the airwaves? Because the Strokes made it that way. No, not on their own, but their importance in saving rock radio cannot be overstated.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not going to tell you how much I loved the song Reptilia because a lot of people have already done that, even know it's a great song. I have had this CD for a long time, infact this was my first Strokes CD. Now that I have listened to FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF EARTH and IS THIS IT a whole bunch, I find myself going back and listening to this one the most even know I own all three.

I absolutely love the part in Between Love & Hate when "Never needed anybody" is sung along with catchy yet mellow twang guitar follow through.
12:51 is one of the most styled songs on this CD. I wish the strokes would go back to writing a couple more songs that sound more similar to 12:51.
This CD makes me look forward to the next Strokes album more than any of the others.
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Format: Audio CD
My first exposure to The Strokes was on the pathetic wasteland that is hard rock radio. While I normally pay no attention to what is playing (mostly due to the fact that 98% of these bands aren't worth hearing), one band that constantly catches my interest is The Strokes. "Last Nite" and "Someday" were infectious, irresistably snappy tunes with a comfortably straightforward, though hardly simplistic, approach to songwriting, and "Hard To Explain", decidedly one of the best singles of recent memory, reveals a particular nostalgic sound that - in spite of the recent barrage of basic, low-grade cash-cows of "lo-fi" (here I am thinking specifically of Jet) - is still distinctively their own. This meat-and-potatoes approach continues with the excellent Room On Fire, a terse and consistently winning collection of 11 songs spanning 33 minutes. While there is nothing that quite recaptures the genius of "Hard To Explain", the majority of these songs obtain a remarkably high level of quality. While I must admit I have not heard Is This It in its entirety, the overall sound on this one is a wee bit slower and slightly more complex than the aforementioned singles from their debut. The vocals are still distorted and somewhat non-chalant, the guitars alternate between propulsive and jangly, and the bass guitar is laid on nice and thick. It doesn't just sound good, it FEELS just right.

The many criticisms around media circles stating that the Strokes "ouevre" lacks variety from track to track are, in my humble opinion, unfounded.
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