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4.0 out of 5 stars87
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2015
Certainly not their best. But I still enjoy it.

The first half of the album is particularly brilliant. Songs like 'Juicebox' (personal favourite Strokes song!), 'Vision of Division' and 'Heart in a Cage' offer a more intense and louder sound than what can be seen on the band's previous efforts. It's really thrilling! And the opening track, 'You Only Live Once' is perhaps one of the greatest Strokes songs ever recorded.

For me, the album takes a slight downturn after the weird (but enjoyable) guitar and drum free 'Ask Me Anything'. Tracks like 'Fear of Sleep' and '15 Minutes' seem to drag on. Any climax these songs build up to often sounds very forced, and Julian's vocals seem quite lazy on some of these tracks. Still, it's not all bad. 'Ize of the World' has an incredibly explosive finish, whilst closer 'Red Light' screams a classic strokes song.

It's worth a listen, even if it doesn't always pay off. But I appreciate that The Strokes tried something new on this record.
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on 16 December 2005
....well, maybe not as good as Is This It, but it comes very close. I've had this album a month now, and felt I needed to tell you about it.
On the first listen, its an ok-ish album at the most. However, like the last 2 albums, stick it on repeat for a bit and you'll be blown away by the sheer brilliance that the 5 lads have come up with for a 3rd time.
1. You Only Live Once - Perfect way to open an album. Very catchy guitar licks and imposing lyrics ("Some people think they're always right"). One of the catchiest songs on the whole album. 5/5
2. Juicebox - Well, we've all heard it. It sounds like the theme from Batman, crossed with a 15 foot wall of guitar and a hell of alot of attitude. Great song. 5/5
3. Heart In A Cage - Opens with a sublime guitar lick from Valensi. This song probably stands out the most after a few listens. It has great guitar work from both Albert and Nick, and cool lyrics ("I don't want what you want, I dont feel what you feel. I'm stuck in a city, but I belong in a field"). 5/5
4. Razorblade - Again, this song opens with a great retro guitar chord arrangement, VERY much like that of Barry Manilows 'Mandy'. Im actually surprised they got away with it! None the less, a great song. The rythem guitar sounds like that of '12:51'. 4.5/5
5. On The Other Side - I cant think of any other words apart from 'very tense' to describe this track. Opens with a bass line typical of The Strokes, and continues throughout. Deliberate lazy guitars and almost desperatly sounding lyrics make this, yet, another great song. 4.5/5
6. Vision of Vivision - WOW! One of the most 'fullest' songs on the album. I think this is the most guitar-impressive songs of the 14 tracks, and has a great mid-western influenced solo in the middle. Julian also sounds like hes using the full capacity of his lungs for once! 5/5
7. Ask Me Anything - I think everyone will have a different opinion on this track. Just song features Julian on vocals and Nick (I think its Nick, it may be Albert...) on a melatron. Its nothing like youve ever heard before, trust me. I personally think this song is beautiful, and has the most diverse lyrics ever ("We named a summer camp for you") ("Dont be a coconut") ("I've got nothing to give, got no reason to live. I will fight to survive, I've got nothing to hide, wish I wasn't so shy"). Very emotive song indeed. 5/5
8. Electricityscape - Another song where, for the opening, sounds very middle-eastern. If there was a song to portray a setting sun in an Asian city, this would be it. The dominent lyrics ("You belong in the city now")("Take me to the water, make me understand that I was wrong") makes it very imposing. Great singing, great guitars; great song. 4.5/5
9. Killing Lies - Not the best song on the album, but certainly not the worst. Another deliberatly lazy song; something thats easy to chill out to. I personally love it; Julians singing sounds beautiful. 4/5
10. Fear of Sleep - I love the way the guitar scales are used in this particular song, as it matches Julians singing perfectly. Its certainly a breath of fresh air; maybe not on the first listen, as its a grower. Julian almost builds up the tension with repetition ("Fear of sleep") and then collapses the song with almost shouting ("You're no fun!!"). Lovely. 4/5
11. 15 Minutes - My joint-favourite on the album. I guarentee that most people won't like this song on its first listen; It sounds like it was written for a pub performance, as Julian souns almost Pogues-like. However, the song really does grow on you, with is amazing lyrics ("The hurtful things you think you want to say; Time will turn them into jokes") The middle of the song has a very nice guitar solo, and then all of a sudden, the song almost tripples in speed, without losing any of its identity from the first half (definatly a song of 2 halves...pardon the pun). The closing verse definatly won me over, with Julian almost telling his bands story. An absolute epic. 5/5
12. Ize of the World - My other joint favourite on the album. Opens up with the most random guitar sounds you're ever likely to hear in your life, but then the song 'starts' for real. The reason why I love this song is its structure and lyrics. You'll find that a lot of the songs on this album (and, on their previous albums) are extremly clever. Its very political, and the lyrics are so down to earth and true. Its almost an observation of our daily lives ("A desk to organize, A product to advertize" etc). The guitar solo is probably the most retro you're ever going to hear for a long time (probably until their next album!), as it sound slike it was written for Happy Days or Rainbow. Another thing worth mentioning is the harmony that Julian unleashes from out of nowhere around the 2:43 mark; I was genuinally surprised to hear him produce something that brilliant. You really do need to hear it to appreciate this song fully. 5/5
13. Evening Sun - Not the best of their tracks. However I do like the lyrics, and the 2nd half makes up for the lazy first half (almost too lazy to enjoy). 3/5
14. Red Light - Finally. They've done an album which doesnt end on a downer! ("Take It Or Leave It")("I Can't Win"). The opening sounds like the drumbeat from Fireman Sam (yes it does!) and the guitar is, yet again, very similar to "12:51", with that almost keyboard like sounds to match Julias harmonies. Finishes on the ultimatum lyric ("The sky's not the limit and your'e never gonna guess what is"). A very nice way to end a fantastic album. 4.5/5
I hope you've found this review helpful. I urge you to buy this fantastic album!
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on 8 December 2006
This came out nearly one year ago (at my time of writing) and struggles in the memory to find a place on "best of 2006" lists. At the time of release I wasn't alone in finding it a bit of a disappointment, but have come back to it a few times over the course of this year and it has proven to be the very definition of a grower, which now feels like an old friend. I think I should let seasonal shoppers know that this is as good an album as you're going to hear this year, and that if you (or that person on your gift list) liked the previous Strokes albums you won't ultimately be disappointed.

I defy anyone to present me with a better single quarter of an hour than the first four songs on this album, a breathless kinetic rush of four classic jangly pop songs in a row that leave you with a huge grin. 'You Only Live Once' one of the best album openers ever, 'Razorblade' bizarrely borrowing the melody from Barry Manilow's easy-listening classic 'Mandy', to delightful effect.

After that however, this album's problem is that it goes on too long, and arguably outstays its welcome a little. The other Strokes albums clocked in at around 35 minutes while this one is nearer 55; they had eleven tracks while this one has fourteen. The band should have kept faith with "less is more" (this could comfortably lose five or six tracks) and this could have been another five-star album. (The most negative aspect of the whole CD revolution is this record-company idea that because CDs can hold MORE than two sides of vinyl they SHOULD, whereas even the most cursory look-back confirms that classic albums hover somewhere around the 40-45 minute mark.) Looking back, the other Stokes albums also followed the template of six or so blindingly brilliant tracks and the rest some inoffensive but not remarkable filler.

The problem (with the negative reviewers...) seems to be some weird expectation that the Strokes should "change" their sound as they go on. They don't, and won't: rather this is exactly what it says on the tin, and if you like the guitar-pop of Blondie and the spiky angularity of Television you'll be very happy immersed in this music. That said, and in danger of contradicting myself, this does see a couple of tracks qualitatively unlike anything the band has previously released. 'Ize of the World' is by Strokes standards a sprawling indulgent epic (at five minutes, nearly two minutes longer than average) building to a blistering climax, possibly the albums best track. By contrast 'Evening Sun' is a quiet, warmly stoned little thing that floats gently into the sunset.

They will do better albums again I'm sure, but in my humble op they are still the best band of the 21st Century so far.
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on 12 February 2013
Thanks to a new producer, First Impressions... is the first Strokes album to sound good on your iPod. It's also the longest Strokes album to date, but that's not necessarily a good thing. The songs "Ask Me Anything", "Killing Lies" and "15 Minutes" really should have been left off as potential B-side fodder. However, if you trim away this flab you're left with another 11 track classic from one of the best bands of all time. The signature sound feels fatter, deeper, more polished, but still angry. Julian Casablancas' issues may have changed, but his voice and attitude remain as potent as ever.
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on 23 February 2008
Like many other Stroke fans "is this it?" has to be my favourite of their three albums. But this album is still pretty good, the songs are more varied than on other albums.

Songs to watch out for are heart in a cage with its amazing guitar riff and catchy lyrics, Vision of division which has one of Albert hammond Jr's best solo's to date.

The not so good from the album are songs such as 'ask me anything' and 'fear of sleep' which shows bands as awesome as the strokes can still make poor songs

Over all a fantastic album!
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on 20 August 2011
People dislike the strokes because they are pretty popular, but if this album was from an unknown band they would declare it the best album never heard. Is This It was big because it had excellent songs that the youth could connect to, this is an album that everyone can connect to, nearly every song is a classic. I trained for a marathon in two weeks listening to this album, its inspiring.
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on 19 February 2008
This album is amazing. The first time I heard it, i fell in love. Some of the songs took a couple of listens to get me into them but they are incredible!
Julian Casablancas is such a talented musician, the lyrics are stunning and his voice is gorgeous. Also, all of the songs have a lush bass line. They're a bunch of talented guys who deserve a lot of praise for this album :)
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on 9 September 2007
After the great but really Is This It mark 2 album Room on Fire the strokes here go for a change in thier sound. And the results i can tell you are great.

It intitially doesn't grab your atention as quick as the first two ablums but this give this album some time and you will be pleasantly rewarded.

Best Tracks: YOLO, Ize of the world, Ask me anything, Red Light.
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on 30 March 2008
The first two Strokes albums exhibited a conciseness not heard since the Pixies: both featured tightly arranged songs and a quality control rare in modern popular music. This immaculate economy begins to unravel on 'First Impressions Of Earth' which is three tracks and twenty minutes longer than either of their previous albums. Four songs in and the tight arrangements are clearly in evidence. But 'On The Other Side' sees the group's mastery of arrangement beginning to lose its grip. The song goes on too long and the relentlesness is apparent at the point when Casablancas sings "I'm tired of being...". There are more of these lesser songs clogging up the middle of the album. 'Vision Of Division' is not as exciting as it thinks; 'Ask Me Anything' eschews the guitars but the song simply isn't up to scratch; 'Electricityscape' sounds like FM radio at drive-time; 'Fear Of Sleep' sounds like a U2 out-take. Though these songs are fine, they are simply not up to the high standard of songwriting so fully realised on their earlier records. Fortunately, the highlights are still to come. 'Killing Lies' has a heart-breaking melody, while '15 Minutes' is a reasonable impression of The Pogues, despite some unfinished-sounding lyrics. 'Ize Of The World' is interesting for suddenly cutting out (causing apoplexy in illegal downloaders). It's as if the group failed to tighten the arrangement and the producer had a rule on how long the song should be. This track gives way to the sublime 'Evening Sun', one of their most beautiful compositions, and the album closes with another highlight, 'Red Light'.

All in all, five of the songs could well have been outed (Lord knows they could do with more real b-sides) while 'Hawaii', the only flip-side from the period, should have been included. With a couple more of the songs tightened up the album could've been another masterpiece. There is a similar amount of content as that found on the first two records but this content is diluted with songs of a lower standard. And surely The Strokes music is too high-energy for such a long album anyway. But this high volume of more varied songs may well be a more accurate impression of the greatest band of the decade. More or less.
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on 10 January 2006
I think, many would agree that 'Is This It?' was one of the best albums of it's time. It kicked off 'the scene', if it were, and ranks up there along with Nirvana's 'Nevermind' for being so important on the musical timeline. It is therefore always difficult to follow up an album of such magnitude. I'm sure most would agree that 'Room On Fire' didn't do it. As one magazine described it: "If the rest of the tracks were even half as good as reptilia then it would be better than their first album. they're not. it isn't." That's a little unfair. If we hadn't have heard their first album, then the follow up would have been 'THE' album of it's time. But forget all that now; we have a new Strokes release...
'First Impressions Of Earth' has many great songs. 'Heart In A Cage' is probably the best song on the album. 'Juicebox' may come close, but overplay on radio has made it consdierably tamer than when first heard. Also, it's "red-herring"-like nature makes it a little disappointing that the rest of the album doesn't really stick to the same heavy vibe. But that isn't really a problem, as the album works well in it's own style.
'Ask Me Anything' is the strangest Strokes song to date. Simply Julian singing over a synth (with some extra Oboe?/Violin?/etc in the background on occasions). It's great. But still, it's as wierd as hell!
'Razorblade' follows a similar style to '12:51', with simple guitars driving it through from beginning to end. Most songs are often riddled with typical Strokes fashion guitar solo's. So you won't miss out on anything in that department!
'Electricityscape' is a fantastic song, layered with kicking drums and a slow/fast combo of guitar.
However, the album has it's obvious flaws. At 14 tracks, it's perhaps 2/3songs too long and there's a couple of duds which the album could do without. 'Killing Lies' takes a while to get going. In fact, it doesn't. Wouldn't be missed. 'Evening Sun' sounds good. But apart from the intro, fades into a blur. It's completely unmemorable. One of those songs that you can listen to, but when played at random, you can't remember ever having heard it. 'On The Other Side' is perhaps in a wrong position tracklisting-wise. It splits the first few great songs up with a song at completely different pace. Maybe could be dropped and not overly missed.
Great album, which combines old Strokes style with a new direction. It would get five stars, but i'm not so 'star-happy' as some reviewers who have given every song 5 or 4.5, and ALWAYS give albums they like 5*. If 'Is This It?' didn't exist, then this would be a great album. But with that in mind, doesn't quite deserve the 5* rating. It's better than 'Room On Fire', but there's some songs on here that are worst than ALL songs on 'Room On Fire', which makes this a tricky album.
Buy it whatever. Enjoy!
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