The Strokes - Comedown Machine

We’ve already heard the previews, as well as entire songs “One Way Trigger” and “All The Time.” And now all of Comedown Machine, the gleaming and adventurous fifth album from New York rock band the Strokes, is streaming online. Listen to it at Pitchfork and then take to the comments section to let the world know what you think about all the stylistic left turns and clasically scratchy Casablancas choruses contained therein.

Comedown Machine is out 3/26 on RCA.

Comments (173)
  1. welcome to japan, motherfuckers! (should’ve been the title to this song cuz it’s so damned good)

  2. a quasi career 180 that isn’t bad or what I’d like to call not “pop etc’ing”.

  3. Really, really, really liking this. It sounds totally different than everything else they’ve done (obviously?), but holds together as an “album” far better than Angles did. Really, this is the album that Angles should have been as far as back-from-hiatus albums go.

    Well done, gentlemen.

  4. Am I the only who hear’s Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” in the opening riff to the first song, Tap Out?

  5. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • I dont know what constitutes a commercial trainwreck these days (only 500K people steal it/stream it) but I wouldn’t be surprised if this album got some glowing reviews, you gotta admit its lightyears better then that last thing whose name we will not speak.

      • I didn’t get the Angles hate. I legitimately loved half of the tracks on that album.

        • it’s the strokes, so the emotions associated with their output are always greatly amplified and exaggerated (except the positive ones, those are extremely well-founded). Machu Piccu, Taken for a Fool, Life is Simple in the Moonlight are all top notch songs. GRatisfaction and UCoD are both pretty soild too, so i agree with your half the album love. but i also get that the other half rarely gets a spin.

        • word, “Taken for a Fool” “Gratisfaction” “Machu Picchu” immediately come to mind as among their best tracks.

        • Angles was awesome, even if “Call Me Back” & “Metabolism” sucked and “Games” was flat.

          I love the rest, with the big 2 (“Taken for a Fool” & “Under Cover of Darkness”) being as good as any singles we’ve had in the past few years. “Gratisfaction” was a blast, “Machu Piccu” rocked, “Two Kinds of Happiness” was great retro-new wave Strokes – I was pretty happy with the album, especially in what I felt was a weak year musically.

          I’m at work now but I can’t wait to listen to the stream when I get home.

          And yeah, Tim below me nailed it about the hate – these guys have always drawn ridiculously extreme reactions.

      • Rolling Stone ripped on it in their newest issue but still gave it 3 stars – not sure what to make of that.

  6. Man, idk, this really snuck up on me, PLEASANT SURPRISE THOUGH. I will listen and report back. Oblivion out.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Initial thought: Ok a bit :(((( just because this kinda confirms their complete stylistic departure from their original sound. they sound like a completely different band. I can really feel they’re trying to mature their output, they’ve certainly cleaned up the sound a lot, the production is more crisp (which isn’t necessarily bad). As impossible as it may have seemed they have tightened up their already super-tight trade mark sound, the leads and the clean guitar melodies are really precise which is cool. I really like that through their evolution the Strokes have never bloated their songs or made them overly long (First Impressions had a few moments, but still), they keep them packed and to the point.

        Update: Love the “All of the Time” solo.

        • Ok for some reason these comments are getting a lot of hate (probably because of this KIDCHAIR dude).

          I just wanted to honestly share my opinion in a light jokey manner not unlike a lot of comments on this site. Why does everyone have to downvote any comment that doesn’t align perfectly with the popular opinion on this site, I tried to make these comments pretty moderate but apparently that doesn’t work.

      • Never owned a cassette huh?

        • Throwbacks do not justify an album cover that lacks creativity or art.

        • It doesn’t really look like a cassette cover. It looks like a reel-to-reel kind of audio tape- like something bigger- like a studio master or something.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • It looks like a demo tape given directly to recording studios to me.

            I’ve been served? You’re a dumbass.

          • Or what Pinko said.

            Not what oblivion said though, lest I get served.

          • Oops. I meant “directly FROM the recording studios.” As in a final mix given to the labels to give them a taste of the action.

            P.S.Oblivion – I don’t believe for a second you know what you are talking about. I imagine you as a teenager who has never seen or owned a cassette.

          • Seeing as it wont let me reply directing to your comment ill just do this.

            A demo tape would not be spliced, just the master. The look of it is a product going out from, not to a studio. Also, RCA did not produce “cassettes” they produced 8 track tapes for a short period of time but not compact cassettes.

            You are an ageist man. You think you have the ability to know more and are infinitely more knowledgeable than someone younger than you. I in fact have owned a cassette before, contrary to your completely ignorant assumption. You think you can just talk down to people because youre some 30-something know-it-all, thats not what this comment section is about.

            My comments are said 80% jokingly, as are a lot of the comments people make here, I don’t understand why you feel the need to continually attack me, especially if you are the mature, wise 30-something you purport yourself to be.

            Hopefully we can go forward and be constructive commenters for the benefit of all mankind.
            Peace out.

          • Your opinion of the album isn’t what bugged me. Your obvious youthful ignorance isn’t even what bugged me, initially. But then you went and tried to serve me. That was pretty obnoxious. I don’t really give a shit if its a master or a demo or whatever.

            Don’t blame me for your down votes. I wasn’t the one trying to “serve” it up. That was all you buddy.

          • I’ll concede, I may have jumped the shark on that. However, you are the 30-something arguing with an 18 year-old on the internet.

            But can we just be fwends????????

          • Truce.
            Let’s join forces.

          • Woof. Glad that had a happy ending. What a wild ride. I’m exhausted.

          • Stereogum: A New Drama, Coming Soon to HBO.

          • Conflict resolution, right before your eyes.

            The internets.

      • I love the album cover, actually. It’s their best (both cover wise and music wise) since Room on Fire.

  7. Seems like they have gotten a lot better at there instruments from the earlier days–like very noticeably so.

    • Vision of Division had an awesome guitar solo back in the day –

    • You could hear it on the last one.

    • I’ve thought this about the Strokes ever since First Impressions of Earth (I guess some people rank that alongside their first 2…but I never got it). While I could hear the musicianship improving, I thought the music was suffering.

      I have always thought the same thing about Kings of Leon. I know most people will castrate me for mentioning these two bands in the same sentence, but I’m still a fan of KOL’s first two efforts. The playing was much looser and less technically proficient, but that was the charm. I feel the same way about the Strokes’ first 2 releases vs. the rest of their output.

      • Amen for the shout out to Kings of Leon’s first two!

        • Word up. It’s amazing how great those first two albums are (the first especially), and how much bigger of a turd each following album became.

          • I enjoy Because of the Times too. They actually managed to mix playing their instruments well with more of a post-punk kind of sound but still managed to not be pop cheese. But its all gone downhill since Only by the Night.

            Listening to Knocked Up late at night smoking a cigarette just driving is pretty fantastic though.

      • I agree with this technically but while the first 2 albums of Strokes and Kings of Leon were amazing the last 2 haven’t been terrible (Come Around Sundown is atrocious) While not masterpieces, and in the King’s case chasing that pop sound, these bands have been a lot about feeling to me. And their music still makes me FEEL a certain way. I think they are very comparable but I think The Strokes had less of a chip on their shoulder since they were big in the US initially so they are taking more chance. They didn’t all pay off on Angles but I still enjoy the album. Liking this one so far…

  8. Just finished my first listen — and loved it.

    I think it’s funny… So much of the coverage made it sound like this album wasn’t going to be very “Strokes”-y, and that “All The Time” was the lone exception.

    I think it’s the exact opposite.

    “All The Time” sounds too much like The Strokes trying to be The Strokes (which, if you think about it*, is a totally un-Strokes thing to do). The rest of the album is definitely a sonic departure, but it sounds assured in a way “Angles” wasn’t, and more importantly, makes me want to listen again.

    *”it” being the band’s leather jacket-and-sunglasses-indoors aloofness

  9. The best part about a new (and GREAT) Strokes album is a [possible] Strokes tour, right?

    • If they do, I hope they play more individual shows. It felt like they went heavy on the festivals last year, most of which I couldn’t go to :/

  10. 50/50 rules. Julian sounds like he’s wailing from the bottom of a gutter through a broken radiator belt.

  11. I think it’s the first goofy record of The Strokes. I laughed during half of it. Sounds like 11 attempts to escape from the sound that made them successful.

  12. I hope D-Tits comes to this party.

    And that he keeps his dong out of the mashed potatoes this time….

    • WHOOOOOO if it’s gonna be that kinda party, i can’t HELP but stick my donny in the mashed pa’tay-tas.

      Well, you did it again K-brobro. Last week’s poem was going to be my goodbye kiss kiss to commenting but, as they say, “you can’t keep the ‘rrhea from the call of the bowl.” missed u all.

      I….. I just…… you guys. Full disclosure: strokes are one of, if not THE favourite band of papa tilla over the ’00′s. So, I’m biased. But, full disclosure, I am not a robot.

      Let me tell you a story. So doubledonnyD decided to put some room on fire on in the muthafuxxin whip today. Wow, what a blast from the past. Really missed it. But you know what, found myself blowin right through the middle third (OBVS THATS WHAT SHE SAID. OBVS.). You talk 2 mush, b/w luv n’ hate, meet me in the b-room – I’m skipping those shits most times. Why? idk. I love them, but the other licks are too good to deny when I know they’re only a click away. I love ROF though, so what does this mean? It means that sometimes the major hitters take away from the quiet guys, and that’s okay. sidenote, ROF is my second fav strokes album (OBVS) HOWEVER, I think the major players are better or at least more fun than a lot of is this it – I said it. I stand by it. Is this it being my fav as well.

      Now, FIOE was the epitome of skipping the hell out of most of it for the hits. I haven’t even heard half of that album and I own it. I can’t even name the tracklist. It’s like the maladroit to my blue album and pinkerton. true say. It’s like, “yeah, I’ll listen to ‘Slob,’ I’ll listen to ‘Fall Together,’ uuuhhhh maybe ‘keep fishin,’ but the rest of those shits are like brown on a toilet seat” = They’re there and I’m not about to touch them.

      Now angles was like a angel to me. I still think that’s a pretty solid album, especially considering the well-known clusterturd that surrounded it’s creation and the aftermath. I listen to move of those jams, and on the regular. Some solid licks, a new direction. Definitely dece.

      So when one way trigger came out, my one way trigger came out. literally. I just was excited guys. It was the blend of everything I had ever wanted. All the Time I thought was junk until this week – now I give it the love it truly deserves. But I was nervous. Like, real nervous. I’m so goddamn excited about this album. Honestly I’m too pantaloon jazzed right now to give an honest opinion but I’m crazy out of control right now with comparisons to past work. First off, it’s just so much more interesting than past output, but not like the red album trainwreck barnyard AWFULNESS. No, it’s different while pulling together all of the best features of their past work. Every song has some switch up that makes me go “oh, that’s your girl? do it. do it. boi” but like in the best way possible. This is just a fucking JOY of an album to listen to. I can’t pick out a favourite yet but these guys must have licks and choruses coming out of their backdoors and fallin right into the pot. I could listen to a million of this kind of strokes album. U2 and shit, but not awful. The problem is going to be the reviews. Sheffeld must have IBS or something because that review made no sense. How can you fault a band for moving into new territory and knocking that shit out of the park? I don’t want another is this it. God no. This is where these Ma’s should be. P4k is going to tear it apart. Those assholes didn’t even review all the time. But, that’s fine with papa D. They don’t run the world. Girls.

      Wait, what?

      tl;dr fuck p4k for saying these guys should break up in the angels review. SUCH a stereotyp’ p4k move.

  13. This is kinda random, but I’m getting a big Love Spit Love (does anybody remember Love Spit Love?) vibe from the record, in a really good way.

  14. Will be better received than Angles, for sure. Satisfying stuff. I miss the shouty, heartbroken and mopey Julian Casablancas of the early days. But I will settle for The Strokes making consistent and enjoyable albums again.

  15. Interesting how their career path gets its highs and lows, but really start to look like a fascinating path. This new stuff sounds great, and funnily enough this sounds both close to Julian’s solo efforts and completely Strokes-idiosyncratic in the greatest way possible. I mean, even haters will hate this for the good reasons, leaving lovers loving this for the good reasons too (the music, not the hype). Wow!

    • And maybe people will hate it because they really don’t like it and have been following the band since the first album. I’m not hating it for now, I’m just disappointed that they still are in this state of mind where they just throw stuff in a tracklist like an album is just a bunch of tracks put together with no coherence (style-wise or production-wise for the most part). People here seem to like it very much, but I haven’t read much about the songs they like. I’d be interested …

      • oh wow, i thought this was waaaay more consistent and focused style-wise than angles. which was my main problem with angles.

        • 100% agreed on both counts.

        • I love or like most of the tracks on Angles, but, yes, my main problem was that it never hangs together as a coherent album. It felt more like a singles compilation with 2 shitty tracks (which shouldn’t, on the other hand, take away the fact that half of them could legitimately make a Strokes best of).

      • I partially get the incoherence, but only when the album switches to All The Time. At first I felt that ATT and 50/50 should have been replaced for coherence and consistency, but I’m actually starting to enjoy its place in the storyline of the album. I think most of it is coherent and gives me a moody/lively vibe. Hard to place the album to an exact feeling.

  16. This has already been a pretty good week for music – between this and Wavves, plus the upcoming Phoenix and Vampire Weekend records, I think we’re in for a pretty awesome spring.

  17. The good:
    As with Angles, loved half of it, disregarded the rest. I look at it this way, at least I got 6-7 good new Strokes songs! 50/50, Welcome to Japan, 80′s Comedown Machine, Partners in Crime were great (btw, loved that last track, kinda reminded me of some of the noodling on Blur’s 13)

    The bad:
    1. Why do the Strokes seem so intent on making video game music?
    2. Why can’t they do a decent guitar solo anymore?

    • should’ve said “just like with Angles..”

    • The only song I get the video game vibe out of is Slow Animals. I see nothing wrong with it, since it’s not an approach many bands are taking, plus the song is great. I guess from your point of view, you could argue the same vibe from Happy Endings. I don’t really look at them the same way, I feel more of a tropicana disco sound reminiscent of Machu Picchu in their guitars. Too many good vibes flowing through me as I listen, so it’s hard to place the sound, but for now it makes me think of a Blade Runner sound for some reason

  18. I’m a little more than halfway, but I really like this. The only song I don’t like is the single funnily enough. It sounds like a half-hearted attempt to recreate the old Strokes sound.

  19. After the 2nd listen I can say this is bloody brilliant.

  20. Certainly some hit and miss moments, but after only one listen I can say I’m definitely more intrigued by it than I was by Angles.

  21. I’ve gotten up to “Slow Animals” and I love it so far.

  22. 50/50 melted my face clean off.

    Really digging this after the initial listen.

  23. After a few listens, I legitimately think this could be their 3rd best album.

  24. i’ve only listened to it once so far, but it’s way more cohesive and impressive than angles (as everybody else is saying). definitely one of the most pleasant surprises of the year

  25. I’m baffled as to why the reviews have been so bad to lukewarm. I think part of the reason I like this so much is that the album seems so much better than initial reviews suggested.

    • Reviews have been mostly positive, with only one mixed review. Metacritic has it at a 75 so far.

      • RS give it 3/5 with a very harsh review. Also, we must consider the band is in the middle of a press blackout, meaning no interviews, no photoshoots, and some journalists may not like that, so some reviews might be a little biased. They could make it good on Pitchfork though, I guess that first exclusive streaming was in exchange for some extra score.

  26. Interestingly, I almost feel a Phoenix vibe in songs like “Slow Animals.” As far as the album goes, what else could you want or reasonably expect from the Strokes at this point in their career?

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  28. It’s definitely a Strokes album of the digital age, more ethereal and contemplative than Angles’ Guitar Hero-esque attitude.

  29. This album sounds like a band that has once again decided to be intentional with the art they’re making. No throwaways here. God love em, the Strokes are back!

  30. Hate to be a downer but most of this album is a sleeper. The second single is good and the Cars like production is tasteful but most of the other tunes just aren’t doing it for me. But hey, different strokes for different folks.

  31. tap out is my early favorite

  32. To be honest, the distorted falsetto doesn’t work for me. I’m all for the band evolving and trying out new styles like 80s synthpop, but it seems like they’re purposefully trying to hide Julian’s best vocal elements. I personally miss the deep shouty-voiced singing.
    I would say half of the album is well-delivered (Tap out, Welcome to Japan, 50 50, Partners in Crime). I have to disagree with a lot of you guys here though when I say Angles was a better album than this!
    Overall, they haven’t lost it, but it just felt lazy. The fact that they’re probably not touring or “just haven’t planned anything yet” adds to this fact too.

    • Really? I think the vocals are the best part. He’s all over the place, showing off a huge range. Based on the early reviews I was expecting every song to have front-and-center falsetto like OWT, but it’s used more tastefully than that. And the vocal distortion! Julian literally phoned it in on Angles. Here he sounds like he has something to prove again.

    • Also, shout-out to the vocoder background vocals on “Happy Ending(s).”

      Also, surprised no one has mentioned that Call It Fate… would have fit nicely on Dark Night of the Soul. Sounds a lot like the slower numbers on that album.

  33. I, for one, think this is absolutely fantastic! It’s dance-y, groovy, and fun!

  34. I think this new album is amazing! Welcome to Japan and Slow Animals are both amazing! Cant wait to hea it live!!!

  35. “All the Time” and “Chances” are boring because they’re The Strokes going through the motions. Everything else is uniformly amazing. If this is what they intend to do, I hope they never return to guitar rock.

  36. I love “One Way Trigger”. My girlfriend hates it. The Strokes are back.

  37. So, next single? Way, WAY more candidates than I qas ezpexting!

  38. as much as like the title track, i think the last chorus was a wasted opportunity to come to full bloom after that key change instrumental bit. instead it closes up with the same tense, anxious chorus.

  39. Definitely more consistent than Angles, but man, those slower songs are hard to listen to (especially the last song). Welcome to Japan, however, is just golden.

  40. This new Phoenix album rocks.

    • My first thought too. Whilst listening to this, my coworker said “this sounds more like the new Phoenix album than the new Phoenix album does.” Indeed. I don’t know why you’re being down voted. I think people around here just want glowing positivity. I think it’s a pretty positive remark.

      • What goes around comes around I suppose? I love Phoenix, but their first album to get significant attention (It’s Never Been Like That) sounded just like The Strokes. They both kick ass.

      • It actually is meant to be positive. I actually kinda thought The Strokes were sorta one dimensional up until I gave this a listen. I’ll be really curious to hear that new (actual) Phoenix album when I can. I may feel an some sorta George Costanza ‘worlds colliding’ musical moment which will be quite trippy I suspect.
        Personally speaking, I love this album and I’m not afraid to admit the slower tracks are the ones that stand out most to me.

  41. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  42. What kind of asshole drives a Lotus?

  43. I dont know about you fools but i absolutly love the new album thus far. Still streaming it online right now. Check it out for yourself

  44. The only people that like this album are people who are trying to force themselves to like it just because its the strokes. There were 3-4 decent songs and they werent anything special. Nothing that jumped out at you like under cover of darkness or someday.

    • I gotta disagree.

      During my first listen-through, I kept on waiting for the inevitable, “Oh… oh this just isn’t very good” realization to set in. Then the album ended without that realization ever happening.

      A few listens later, and I agree with Past Me: this album is awesome. I’ve already listened to it more times than I listened to ‘Angles’ (an album I recently revisited to find out it was just as underwhelming as I remembered).

      • Angles came out back in 2011 and ive listened to under cover of darkness at least a thousand times since then. I cant say ill be listening to any of these songs anywhere near that amount. After 3 listens to try and like it im sick of most of the songs

        • Don’t get me wrong, “Angles” had some downright decent tracks. I loved “Under Cover of Darkness”, and I thought “Machu Picchu”, “Taken For A Fool”, and “Life Is Simple In The Moonlight” are all pretty good, too.

          The problem is the other half of the album is pretty uninspiring. “Two Kinds of Happiness” has some decent guitar work, but Julian’s vocal performance is flat from the beginning of the song. “You’re So Right” and “Metabolism” sound like FIO knock-offs. I think “Games” and “Call Me Back” could have been interesting songs, but came across as half-baked to me. “Gratisfaction” was one of those love-it-or-hate-it songs, and you can guess which camp I ended up in.

          But, hey, agree to disagree and all that — I’m all for civil Internet discourse. I hope something on “Comedown Machine” ends up pulling you in the way “Under Cover of Darkness” did.

    • On the other hand, there could be a lot of people dis-liking it just because it’s the strokes…

  45. I would like to take the best tracks from this and combine them with the best tracks from Angels, to make an album that is really really good but would still probably get shit on for not being “is this it”…

  46. There are only a few bands that I can count on in these crazy days , that no matter if the album is good or bad I will listen to it 50x and love it.
    The Strokes –
    YYY – maybe my most consistent band
    Doves- please make another record
    Radiohead – i listened to KOL so many times before seeing them for the 11th time in concert and finally realizing I don’t care for it much. Good rainy day album though
    Silversun Pickups – yeah feel free to downvote..I can’t help it. I love them
    Menomena – wish this band would blow up and make a lot of money
    Arcade Fire- obvious but they have a flawless record…of making flawless records (see what I did there)

  47. Yes, this is great. I’m glad they actually recorded this when they were all in the same room this time. Early standout: “50/50″.

  48. Angles took me by surprise (in a good way) and this takes me by an even bigger surprise!

  49. Synth-pop seems to be making a big splash this year between this, Bowie, Tegan and Sara, and the upcoming Phoenix album. And I have no problem with that at all.

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