Room on Fire

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Room on Fire
Room on Fire cover.jpg
Studio album by The Strokes
Released October 28, 2003
Recorded 2003
Length 33:05
Producer Gordon Raphael
The Strokes chronology
Is This It
(2001)Is This It2001
Room on Fire
First Impressions of Earth
(2006)First Impressions of Earth2006
Singles from Room on Fire
  1. "12:51"
    Released: November 4, 2003
  2. "Reptilia"
    Released: February 9, 2004
  3. "The End Has No End"
    Released: November 1, 2004

Room on Fire is the second studio album by American rock band the Strokes. It was released on October 28, 2003, by RCA Records. The album is a follow-up to 2001's Is This It. Three singles were released from the album: "12:51", "Reptilia", and "The End Has No End". Grammy-winning producer Nigel Godrich was initially in charge of production, but the Strokes felt he made the songs seem "soulless".[1] The band went back to work with Is This It producer Gordon Raphael. The album features a slightly smoother sound than its predecessor. The bass guitar is less present except for several moments when it becomes the focal point of the song. The album title Room on Fire was drawn from a line in "Reptilia": "The room is on fire as she's fixing her hair." Room on Fire received positive reviews upon release. It reached number two on the UK Albums Chart and debuted at number four in the US on the Billboard 200, where it went on to sell 597,000 units by October 2006[citation needed] and was certified Gold.


Immediately after touring for their debut album Is This It, the band returned to the studio to record songs, initially with renowned producer Nigel Godrich. Those sessions were ultimately scrapped and the band returned to their original producer, Gordon Raphael. The Strokes had exactly only three months of studio time to record the album. Guitarist Nick Valensi stated that "the album would've ended up a lot better if we'd had another couple of weeks."[2]


Commercial performance[edit]

The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 in the US, and was later certified Gold by the RIAA in December 2003.[3][4]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 77/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
Blender 3/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly B[8]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[9]
NME 9/10[10]
Pitchfork 8.0/10[11]
Q 5/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
Spin A−[14]
Uncut 4/5 stars[15]

While reviews for the album were generally positive, gaining a 77 out of 100 on review aggregating site Metacritic based on 31 reviews,[5] the general consensus on the album was that it was too similar to Is This It.[2] Rob Mitchum of Pitchfork Media gave the album an 8 out of 10, but stated that the band "have all but given birth to an identical twin."[11] A positive review from Rolling Stone said that "the Strokes have resisted the temptation to hit the brakes, grow up and screw around with a sound that doesn't need fixing — yet." The review also stated that "if you want comfort and clarity, you're definitely in the wrong room. This record was built for thrills and speed."[13] Dan Tallis of BBC Music gave it a favorable review and said, "Bands should think themselves lucky to achieve such heights just once in their careers. However, they've done all they could have done. They've made Is This It part two. It's more of the same plus extras. And I'm more than happy to settle for that."[16] Ben Thompson of The Observer gave it all five stars and said, "This is a feeling that can be inspired only by people making the absolute most of an opportunity to communicate: cutting through all the rubbish that surrounds them to make a clear and memorable artistic statement. And that the Strokes should have managed to do such a thing at this stage in their careers, is - I think - an achievement of real significance."[17] Greg Milner of Spin gave it a score of eight out of ten and said that its "similarity to its predecessor ultimately bespeaks a purity of vision, not a dearth of new ideas."[14] Jenny Tatone of Neumu gave it a score of nine stars out of ten and said, "The Strokes don't make the most original sounding music you've ever heard, but they make something that is only the Strokes."[18] In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave the album a three-star honorable mention ((3-star Honorable Mention)) while picking out two songs from the album ("Between Love and Hate" and "What Ever Happened?") and stating simply, "Narcissism repeats itself."[19]

Not all reviews were positive, however. Raoul Hernandez of The Austin Chronicle gave the album a score of two stars out of five and stated that "Even the half-hearted retreads... cashing in on the notoriously unwashed NYC quintet's debut can't muster a wink."[20] Iain Moffat of Playlouder gave the album only one star and said of the Strokes, "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."[21]

In 2013 Room On Fire was listed at number 360 on NME's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Julian Casablancas.

No. Title Length
1. "What Ever Happened?" 2:54
2. "Reptilia" 3:41
3. "Automatic Stop" 3:26
4. "12:51" 2:33
5. "You Talk Way Too Much" 3:04
6. "Between Love & Hate" 3:15
7. "Meet Me in the Bathroom" 2:57
8. "Under Control" 3:06
9. "The Way It Is" 2:22
10. "The End Has No End" 3:07
11. "I Can't Win" 2:34


  • Released: February 9, 2004
  • Chart positions:
    #17 (UK Singles Chart)
    #19 (US Modern Rock)
"The End Has No End"
  • Released: November 1, 2004
  • Chart positions:
    #27 (UK Singles Chart)
    #35 (US Modern Rock)


The Strokes



Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak position[22]
Australian ARIA Charts 6
US Billboard 200 4
Germany Top Albums Chart 6
Irish Albums Chart 2
New Zealand RIANZ Charts 6
Norwegian Top Albums Chart 3
Sweden Top Albums Chart 6
UK Albums Chart 2


  1. ^ Matthew McKinnon (July 24, 2006). Everything In Its Right Place Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b Jonathan Garrett (7 March 2011). Is This It: Ten Years of the Strokes Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  3. ^ Room on Fire - The Strokes Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  4. ^ RIAA - Searchable Database RIAA. Note: reader must define search parameters as "Strokes".
  5. ^ a b "Reviews for Room On Fire by The Strokes". Metacritic. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ Phares, Heather. "Room on Fire – The Strokes". AllMusic. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ Power, Tony (November 2003). "The Strokes: Room on Fire". Blender (21): 106. Archived from the original on November 22, 2005. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  8. ^ Browne, David (October 31, 2003). "Room on Fire". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ Petridis, Alexis (October 16, 2003). "The Strokes, Room on Fire". The Guardian. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  10. ^ Needham, Alex (September 25, 2003). "The Strokes : Room On Fire". NME. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Mitchum, Rob (October 26, 2003). "The Strokes: Room on Fire". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Strokes: Room on Fire". Q (208): 102. November 2003. 
  13. ^ a b Fricke, David (October 7, 2003). "Room on Fire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Milner, Greg (October 26, 2003). "Room at the Top". Spin. 19 (12): 121–22. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Not So Different Strokes". Uncut (78): 108. November 2003. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  16. ^ Tallis, Dan (2003-11-20 (mislabeled as "2002-11-20")). "Review of The Strokes - Room On Fire". BBC Music. Retrieved 2011-02-20.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ Thompson, Ben (2011-02-09). "The Strokes, Room on Fire: 5 stars | OMM | The Observer". The Observer. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  18. ^ Tatone, Jenny. "The Strokes: Room on Fire". Neumu. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: The Strokes". Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  20. ^ Hernandez, Raoul (2003-10-24). "The Strokes: Room on Fire (RCA)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  21. ^ Moffat, Iain (2003-10-18). "Room On Fire". Playlouder. Archived from the original on 2003-11-04. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  22. ^ The Strokes - Room on Fire - Music Charts Retrieved 10 December 2011.