The Strokes had a lot to prove with “Room
On Fire,” the follow up to their fairly successful debut album “Is This
It.” Shortly after they started to make a name for themselves using a low-tech,
lo-fi sound with droning guitars, many harsh criticisms rose up about the
New York band. Many claimed that they were blatantly ripping off the Velvet
Underground. Many also claimed that they were complete phonies, spoiled
prep-school boys who only made it because of their families’ wealth. There
were also cries of the Strokes being a one-trick pony, incapable of bringing
any new ideas to the table.
I was a Strokes supporter from the get-go,
but not to the extent of most of their fan base. I thought they were a
decent band with some fun songs. Anyone who claims them to be original
obviously doesn’t know their rock history though, because the Strokes clearly
borrow heavily from such 60’s and 70’s art-rock/early punk acts the Velvet
Underground, the New York Dolls, MC5, Iggy & the Stooges, and the Ramones.
I never saw this as a huge deal though. I mean, how many bands out there
can truly claim to be original? The Strokes are by no means original, but
at least they were referencing some cool music and got some people interested
in those bands again. Yes, the members of the band are from wealth families
and attended prep school. But is this a reason to criticize their music?
Absolutely not. Anybody hear of the Rolling Stones?
The last and possibly most ominous crack
at the Strokes was their apparent lack of versatility and inability to
adapt and change styles. “Is This It” is a fun album, but diverse it is
not. The songs are all in similar time with the same drum backbeat and
droning guitars throughout the album. It gives the album a sense of continuity,
but if the Strokes were capable of changing it up a little, they certainly
didn’t display that in their debut album. This is why the follow up “Room
On Fire” is so important for the future of this band. It gives them the
chance to dispel these harsh criticisms brought against them and prove
that they are more that a gimmick band. I have been curious to see what
the Strokes would do with their sophomore album because that would prove
their critics either right or wrong. So as I was saying earlier, the Strokes
have a lot to prove...
My friend got an early copy of “Room On
Fire” and I listened to it with him today. It was a solid album, but I
found myself disappointed. The Strokes did nothing to vary their already
long-tired formula. Half the time it seemed as if they took the songs off
of their first album, made a few changes, and re-released them as new material.
They added a few synthesizers to a couple of songs, but other than that,
nothing. The songs are interchangeable with their last album.
It seems to me that the Strokes are most
definitely facing “Counting Crows Syndrome,” They can make a decent solid
album, but it is just, in essence, a rehash of their debut. “Room On Fire”
is a consistent listen, but “consistent” just doesn’t cut it for a band
that needed a dynamic change from their previous work. It isn’t that the
quality of the songs is below their previous work, but they did nothing
to out-step the limitations they made for themselves with their debut release.
If the Strokes want to be anything more than a passing fad, they need to
raise the bar for themselves and try some new ideas on their next release
rather than relying on the same old tricks.
My favorite song from the album is “Meet
Me in the Bathroom,” which is actually an older song that they never recorded
until recently. Unfortunately, they made some changes to this version which,
in my opinion, makes it inferior to the version they used to play at their
shows. This particular song is probably, along with “New York City Cops”
and “Hard to Explain,” one of their best songs. If you were a big fan of
the Strokes previous work, you will certainly enjoy this record, but if
you are looking to check out the Strokes for the first time, I recommend
“Is This It.” And if you haven’t checked out the Velvet Underground yet,
what’s wrong with you?
– Room On Fire
Tracks: What Ever Happened?
You Talk Way Too Much
Between Love & Hate
Meet Me In The Bathroom
End Has No End, The
Way It Is, The
I Can't Win
Posted by Klerik:
They are the best, I listen to them everyday, they are known also in Greenland, we love it
Posted by Julianlover:
The Strokes are awesome!!! I don't know what that guy was thinking they are the best band out there! And if you don't like the strokes then you have really no good taste in music at all!!
Posted by NickNavarroLover:
the strokes r awesomwe and any 1 who dosent like them SUCKS!(I LOVE YOU NICK NAVARRO!!!)
Posted by NickNavarroLover:
the strokes r awesomwe and any 1 who dosent like them SUCKS!(I LOVE YOU NICK NAVARRO!!!)
Posted by Ruben:
The Strokes are kick ass. One of the best bands around and started a push for better music. If they were a number they would be number 1
Posted by rebecca:
that was the worst review ive ever read.. they are insanely original while encorporating their influences.. room on fire is one of the greatest albums in history because of its immense diverse sound and its overall genious..u listen to the album once and come to this conclusion?! haha
Posted by Lutfi KEJAM:
I am a young Indonesian whos love them so much
Posted by The Girl With the Hair:
I personally think the Strokes are an awesome bands. I mean they have very good lyrics that go along with their kick ass music. People who think the Strokes are an awful band don't appreciate good music. I mean the Strokes are probably one of the best bands of around right now. I think the guy who wrote this article should re-think a couple of his comments.
Posted by mamer:
im tired of ppl downsizing the strokes, ive listened to their songs, probably more that julian casablancas himself, and i can find nothing wrong with their music. its utterly perfect. the sound is amazing, the lyrics are great...forget the hives or the white stripes or the vines, the strokes ARE original. and the guy who wrote the article said something about the strokes have to change their sound or itll just sound like the same material. are u even vaguely familiar with the concept of a band, they make their own sound, not every song is the same. just listen to the damn thing already, stop critisizing it and enjoy the music
Posted by MUTE:
too lazy to read more than first few sentences but the review is wrong sayin their 1st album was an ok success its a great an not appreciated enough jus like room on fire. STROKES ROCK !
Posted by MR VALENSI:
The Strokes are good because everything is simple but yet very effective. Nirvana were massive because it was simple e.g. Smells like teen spirit. Smells like teen spirit and Reptilia have nearly the same musical structure. Intro-Verse followed by Chorus a few times and then the solo, the bass is still playing the same thing, after the solo, only the bass plays and there is the vocals, have a listen to both and you will see the similarity.
Posted by jessica casablancas:
I love the strokes sooooooo much i think about them 24/7. one of my dreams would be to have hot streamy sex with julian. lol im just kidding but that wouldnt be a bad idea anyways
Posted by queen of strokes:
I think both albums are incredibly awesome! i own both myself and i love julian! and the rest of the gang. Throughout the past three years that i've listened to this marvilous band i must say its my favorite.
Posted by Amalthea:
I love Julian and their albums are way cool!!!! this band is truly worth celebrating!!!
Posted by rock on!!:
The strokes are definately one of my favorite bands. I like the fact that they don't care if they have a lot of fans and big crowds..they just one to put out awesome cds and thy're happy with the few they please. The strokes are awesome!
Posted by OH Crap:
I got this Cd a while back..and i havent listened to it since..it's kinda boring..and I don't really like to bash bands..they really need to step it up
Posted by chickmunk:
the strokes songs can sound similar and they kind of copy velvet underground,but they have even said that they WANTED to be like Velvet underground! i love their music anyways and "original"... ha
it is impossible to be original these days... pop culture is diluted!
i think they are pretty good, and the voice on julian... it sounds like and probably is the result of a lot drinking and smoking,but i love it and those people out there that try to burst the bubbles of fans ... go f*ck yourselves...if you dont like them go the away and listen to something that makes you smile
Posted by deadtofall:
what the hell? the band sucks major ass...its not talent at all, list to a psychomancer cdhen come back and tell me what talent is... cuz from my eyes, all of you are dick strokes
Posted by GIRLretard:
lyk omgz0rz teh strokes r lyk teh awesum!! wud da fux dey kik ass! Haha, no seriously, i like The Strokes although hardly find myself worthy of commenting on their greatness. ^___^
Posted by nhg:
what smokey robinson song is the one the strokes take the bass line from?
Posted by DarkFairy:
Yay its the Strokes! AFI is cool to. Yay!
Posted by iNTRA bUDDY:
I bought their cd like a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that it is one of the best cds out this year. NO! THEY ARE NOT GAY! They are straight people just don't get enough blood to their head. The Strokes are so awsome I love them all that includes: 1)Julian Casablancas
5)Albert Hammond Jr.
They are all AWSOME!
Posted by steven:
Strokes kick ass
Posted by molly:
The Strokes rock! They are my fav band. I saw them in concert. I cant even think of a day that i have never thought about that one night that i saw them in concert.
Posted by Vera Bradly:
All I can say is that if it weren't for the 5-8 seconds pauses in between each song, I wouldn't be able to tell one from the next. All the Stroke's songs may sound like 1 song, but I like that song, so I see no problem with it. And lastly, all I can do is ask one to look at Blink 182, they've been arond for years and their sound hasn't cahnge 1 bit, yet people still love them. I think that is a good sign for the Strokes. Finally, there are several forms of the word "there". they are: They're, their, there... using these correctly makes your comments eaiser to understand and makes them seem more worthy of being read.
Posted by Aida:
The strokes is the best rock band of all time!!
Posted by the strokes fan12:51:
the strokes are one of the greatest bands of all time. My voice is the exact same as Julians he's got a awesome voice great instruments. i hate Maxpower
Posted by lizzo:
the strokes absoluty kick ass!Their my favorite band and who cares what other people think or say. their uniqe and cool. and hot. their gay???
Posted by gary :
the strokes arent gay never mind i thought they were in that case they are possibly the best band ive ever heard
Posted by Gary:
their obviously gay there album is awesome especially reptilia but there gay i think i think they sing about to many guys please post if im wrong
Posted by yeah but there obviously gay:
i do like there album but they sing about to many guys
Posted by kaye:
oooh the stroke r the most talented group i have ever heard in my life they r my favourite band ever julian is so
Posted by Dave:
The Strokes sound so different from every other re-cylced band out thier at the moment. The wailing Casablancas and dreary guitars are perfect for days when you say why the hell not
Posted by askg:
the strokes rule
Posted by Aalipak:
Man, yesterday I just heard them, and from now on, I'll allways be a fan. Remember also that The Strokes are known in Greenland. Aalipak from Greenland
Posted by Nikita:
You can't judge someone's music by the way the grew up. The Strokes i think are original in their lyrics and melodies
Posted by Nick:
This review is lame. The reviewer sounds like an arrogant indie rock snob who pats himself on the back a little too often. Its lame reviews like this one that turn people off of new albums.
Posted by Rizzo25:
I'm just glad the Strokes do what they do and disregard critics. I own both albums, both are great. I look forward to future albums but i hope they don't stray away from thier signature sound.
Posted by LuTfI_deS StRokEs:
I LOVE YOU GUY'S.YOUR MUSIC IS SO HOOOOOOOOOOOOT
Posted by Sophia N.:
Wat r u talking about up there! GOD THAT WAS HARSH! I also realized sum of their songs are similar but its still awesome! It's great that they took the time to change a little! Room on Fire is my first cd and songs i heard from the strokes and their amazing! Reptilia is my favourite song! Love the bass on it! Then 2nd woould be "You Talk Way too Much" and then "End Has No End"
Posted by stroke18213:
all of this might be true. but other bands also do the same. the strokes rock, even if they copy they are still the best!!!
Posted by liam gallagher:
oh.. thats my man.. strokes was perfect..me like 2 hear last nite,is this it barely legal,hard 2 xplain...
Posted by Jameson Blade:
Well MaxPower, I definitely agree with most of the previous comments posted. There are few bands EVER that have really been truly 'original'. Every kind of music evolves from another, and everyone's copying other people that have come before them. And on top of it all, The Strokes definitely do have their own sound, and the sheer coolness of their personalities and stage presence makes them ten times better. I honestly don't think you have very much experience in the music area judging by your comments. If the boys changed their sound, they wouldn't be The Strokes. I recently started my own band after growing up playing guitar, drums, bass, and singing... And these guys are our biggest influence. They took velvet, iggy, and etc and made it better. The 'droning' guitars and drum beats are simply brilliant.
Posted by suicidal virgin:
i think the strokes are the best and there song Reptilia is so cool
And the singers voice is the best to
i hope they come to rock werchter!!!
Posted by strokes fan:
i think the strokes is the world's hippest band,no doubt bout it.MaxPower is just talkin trash about the strokes not bein original and interchanging their new songs from their previous album.I think he dislike the strokes,wats up wit that man?
Posted by Ozzy Osbourne:
Man I DONT KNOW WHAT THE F*CK YOUR SMOKING COZ I,M A HUGE STROKES FAN AND THE SONG "I CANT WIN" IS ONE OF THE BEST SONGS I'VE HEARD AND IS GOING TO BE A MAD SUMMER HIT. REPTILLA IS THE BEST SONG THEY HAVE. HAVE ANOTHER LISTEN TO THE ALBUM AND NEXT TIME THINK BEFORE YOU INK...!
Posted by AUSSIESTOKESFUN:
THE STROKES ARE REFREASHING, SIMPLE AND DONT OVER DO IT. THEY ARE TURE ROCK, ROCK IN ITS MOST RAWEST FORM. WE NEED MORE BANS LIKE THE STROKES BEFORE WE ARE CONSUMED OVER DONE S#@T LIKE NICKELBACK AND CREED
Posted by strokesfan:
strokes are awsome,
Posted by Strokes fan guy:
I think this album rocks and who ever thinks it sucks then why dont you come up with better music than that.It does not sound like the first album.This one rocks.
Posted by Jesuli:
This band like NIRVANA!.seriously
Posted by Julian:
Are U a REtarD or something? That's what the StrOkes are about! Soft rock which sounds the same. Even if it is the "same drum beat" or the same "droning guitars", that's the best part about it. If you're a true fan then you'd keep supporting their music. You're a tard.
Posted by skeeta:
i just bought room on fire and can't stop listenng to it. the sheer instensity of 'reptilia' is amazing. the stokes are brilliant and at least they sound a million times better than a lot of other trash that people call music!
Posted by aNieSya_VaLeNsi:
This abum is perfect..i think all the songs on this album is great, especially "what ever happened".. U must buy this album.
Posted by Sass-Anne:
I cannot beleive what I just read. Room on Fire is totally different than Is This It. The whole mood and everything is different. Room on Fire has a totally different feel to it than Is This It. And the songs on the album are very different. The Strokes are awesome, even if they are a bit repetitive. So what? They still rock and are still my favourite band. I'm so glad they are coming to Vancouver in April. I'll be going to the concert. Anyway, get over yourself, maybe if you listen to the albums more you'll have a lightbulb moment and realize how great the Strokes are. Have fun.
Posted by jamie:
this album is a lot more heavier and maybe faster than the last which makes it cool to listen too
Posted by Evan Stroke:
I have 9 CD's of The Strokes, three albums (one being the imported Is This It? version), and 6 singles. They are my favorite band. They may not be very versatile, but who gives a sh!t. Their album is not boring. Listen to "What Ever Happened" and then "Automatic Stop" and "12:51". Three very different and pleasing songs right at the beginning of the album. In my opinion they have the best vocalist ever to breath on a microphone. Their guitarist play very simple music, but if you can appreciate the art of the guitar you can apprectiate Nick's solo's, and the scheme they display through all of the song. Not only that, the strokes are a very hidden set of individuals, which adds to why i like this band so much. I don't see them as seperate people, to me they are one, like some magazine i once read said. Its true. The indecypherable lyrics are crazy if you take the time to actually decode them. Another thing, Is This It is a terrific album and only displays a hint of bordem from track 6-8. Other than that probably the best album of 2001. The Strokes own you and will be in my hometown May 16 so keep it real.
Posted by rockin hippie:
I think The Strokes rock and I love their new record 'Room on Fire', this is the first record I bought for them but I'm planning to check out their older ones too!!
Posted by muisc:
The more I listen to it the more i like it
Posted by Sam:
This album is fantastic!!! They make rock fun and you actually want to listen to the record more than once. The Strokes are definently one of the best groups out there today and should keep up with what they're doing!
Posted by G:
iv only started listening but it all seems good.
Posted by Lizzie:
This album is fantastic, it gets better the more i listen to it, and the melody is truly brilliant.
Posted by Yogi:
I think this album is better than the last but i think this band is unique and plays good music.
Posted by sasa:
i love them!
Posted by Sophie:
This is one of my favourite albums of all time. I just cant stop listening to it!
Posted by amos vega:
i think that they safe the rock
Posted by allanah :):
i think the strokes rock. and anyone who dosent like them must smell.
Posted by Bradbert:
I consider this one of the better releases of 2003, along with Type O Negative's LIKM. It's simply solid. I gotta disagree with this MaxPower guy-- I think they've definitely raised the bar. The tunes are superb, and I actually consider this album a bit better than their previous.
Posted by Anna:
This Cd is just so good. Almost as good as the first one. The Strokes rule, and there is nothing that anyone can do to that fact.
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