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Room on Fire—7  


Released: 2003

1) What Ever Happened  2) Reptilia  3) Automatic Stop  4) 12:51  5) You Talk Way Too Much  6) Between Love And Hate  7) Meet Me In The Bathroom  8) Under Control  9) The Way It Is  10) The End Has No End  11) I Can't Win    


You know when you’re in middle school and you get to be friends with a girl and you don’t even notice that she likes you cause she is so plain and ordinary, but she is cool to talk to and all, and you go on being friends with her and then one day, when you are a senior at some party, BAM! you notice she isn’t flat, and that her face is actually pretty cute, and she is absolutely gorgeous, and then, a year later, you come back from college and she looks plain again, and you’re glad you never tried anything with her that one night, but then again, it would have been cool to have done stuff with her…That’s what this record is like.


At first glance, “Room On Fire” is monotonous, mellow, much more New Wave, and compared with “Is This It,” not up to scratch.  Each song has a similar tone, Casablancas’s voice NEVER changes, and none of the tracks even come close to being as catchy as “Someday” or “Last Nite.”  It seems like the excitement of making an album has worn thin, and the band doesn’t even seem interested.  On second and third glance though, the dirty charm of this record starts to shine through its murky demeanor.  You realize each song, by itself, is fantastic, if a little deliberate, with superb guitar solos and smart vocal hooks.  And you start thinking that “Room On Fire” might be one of those albums that just takes time to appreciate, and you figure it will slowly turn into a great listening experience.  But then on fourth and fifth glance you realize that the album actually IS monotonous, mellow, much more New Wave, and compared with “Is This It,” not up to scratch.  But then again, on sixth glance…


See the problem with this album?  It tries to advance the band’s sound, but never strays from the material on the previous album…AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!  Whatever.  All the songs are great, but save for “Reptilia” with its brilliant bass and melodic guitar fills, and “12:51” and its contagious handclaps that punctuate its great melody, none of the songs have any energy.  No strike that…Casablancas has no energy.  He sings in the same monotone voice throughout the album and almost ruins the entire record.  Almost though not even close to quite, cause the songs still all rule. 


There really isn’t any point in going into details about each track…if you like “Is This It” then you will like this album.  Yes, it is placid and humdrum compared to the debut, but there isn’t one bad song here and there are enough hooks to catch the proportional number of fish equal to the amount of hooks this album has.  Just go out and get it and if you like it, I told you so, and if you don’t, well…I told you so too.

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