Album: Room On Fire (2003)
Charted: 17
Play Video


  • The "Reptilia" is a scientific term meaning the part of the brain we share with reptiles. It relates to higher-level base instincts and emotions. The title is not in the lyrics, implying that the singer is thinking with this part of his brain and acting on emotion rather than reason.
  • Room On Fire took its name from a line in this song, "The room is on fire as she's fixing her hair."
  • The Room On Fire album cover is a section of a 1961 painting by the English pop-artist Peter Phillips entitled War/Game. The artwork depicts opposing American Civil War forces through typical emblems of combat – flags, guns and uniforms. According to Phillips it is a depiction of "peace and war, love and hate, truth and lies." The Strokes felt his moody piece matched with some of the record's lyrical concerns, most notably the theme of relationship politics.

    Peter Phillips (born May 21, 1939) is an English artist and pioneer of the Pop Art movement. His work has been exhibited in The Strokes home city of New York, alongside such American counterparts as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
  • Room on Fire started as a production by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, but The Strokes dismissed his work on the album and handed the job to This Is It producer Gordon Raphael. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Upon its release, the album was largely criticized for sounding too much like the band's debut, Is This It. In a 2014 Rolling Stone interview, Casablancas admitted he still had that album in mind while creating Room On Fire. "I wanted to finish the Is This It thought; even when we were doing it, I always thought it was part two. I remember when we started 'Reptilia' and 'The End Has No End,' I was like, 'This is the new vibe.' I think we always felt like we were in jeopardy. When we did Room on Fire, things were established, but things were internally, at least from my perspective, not healthy."
  • Nick Valensi, the band's lead guitarist, thinks that the hype surrounding the band made it impossible to live up to people's expectations with their second album. "There were going to be a bunch of people who loved that record no matter what, and a bunch of people who hated that record no matter what," he told Rolling Stone Australia. "But it didn't completely feel like we were walking into our own execution."
  • The single's cover art features an alien from the 1981 Atari arcade game Centipede.
  • This was used on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares in the 2006 episode "The Fenwick Arms."

Comments: 8

  • Sarah from Yuba City, CaI'm kind of ashamed to say that i first heard this song on Guitar Hero...Even though everyone sees Is This It as their huge triumph, I always favored Room on Fire more. Even though Is This It is one of the greatest albums i've ever heard. Room on Fire has always been a little more sentimental to me i guess. Anyway...this is a fantastic song with some amazing lyrics. I don't see what's not to like... :)
  • Xavier from Schenectady, NyMorgan... so true
  • Juliette from Sydney, --This is a great song!
    And the Strokes don't sound like every band out there, they have much better songs than the majority of modern music.
    "go back to the year these guys wrote this album and try to find someone that sounded like that before they wrote it."
  • Craig from Arkansas, Arhaha, yea all bands sound like the strokes. milosh. NOT. go back to the year these guys wrote this album and try to find someone that sounded like that before they wrote it.
  • Morgan from Hanover, MdWhen I know someone does not like me and tries to ruin my life I think of the lyrics to this song.
  • Anonymous from Somewhere, CaThis song became pretty popular because of Guitar Hero, but if people are actually into this kind of music they should check out some of The Strokes other music.
  • Patrick from Portland, MeI love this song, though. It is just so catchy
  • Milosh from Novi Sad, YugoslaviaI had to do a cover of this song.Which apparently is the reason I don`t like it now,or is it because the band sounds like a sell-out?yeh,probably that..New bands all sound like that..
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman Jack

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"

Lou Gramm - "Waiting For A Girl Like You"They're Playing My Song

Gramm co-wrote this gorgeous ballad and delivered an inspired vocal, but the song was the beginning of the end of his time with Foreigner.

Kerry Livgren of Kansas

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."

Dave Edmunds

Dave EdmundsSongwriter Interviews

A renowned guitarist and rock revivalist, Dave took "I Hear You Knocking" to the top of the UK charts and was the first to record Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk."

Shawn Mullins

Shawn MullinsSongwriter Interviews

"Lullaby" singer Shawn Mullins on "Beautiful Wreck," beating the Devil, and his writing credit on the Zac Brown Band song "Toes."

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell NdegeocelloSongwriter Interviews

Meshell Ndegeocello talks about recording "Wild Night" with John Mellencamp, and explains why she shied away from the spotlight.