Sound — 10
Many critics have stated that the Strokes second album Room on Fire changes very little from their first albums Is This It. And for the most part this is true. Room on Fire plays it safe and while it does show definate growth in the songwriting especially in the lyrical department it is a rather safe record. I think this was the way to go for the Strokes. You do here hints of where they may go in the future in such songs as their first single of the album "12 51", and "The End has no end" both of those songs the guitars are tuned to sound like keyboards. To be honest it was the first album that got the Strokes their loyal region of fans (mostly college aged students) so why try and mess with that same sound. How much can you really change in a year anyway. The Strokes so far are shaping up to being one of the most promising, original, and piognant bands of the 21st century so far. Their third albums will really determine what will happen with that potential. Much like the Clash with London Calling. The Clash's first two albums sounded relatively the same as well as the Ramones first two.
Lyrics — 10
The Lyrics on "Is This It" were for the most part about relationships and obstract things. But for the most part you could understand most of the lyrics and there wasnt that much mystery. But what makes Room on Fire a better lyrical record is that fact that the lyrics on most songs are a complete mystery and very off the wall obstract just like most good art is. Lyrically, songwriter Julian Casablancas seems to be very much in the mold of Frank Black of the Pixies.
Overall Impression — 10
More great hooks like the first album, on some songs even sweeter than the first go around (Reptilia, Under Control, 12 51) and although it doesnt have those songs that will stand out and grab you like Is This It had (Last Night, Barely Legal, Hard to Explain, Someday) it is a better overall record then their debut. And a record that you truly can listen to straight through. Job well done Jules, Fab, Al, Nick, and Nikolai.