Tuesday 17 September 2013

Arctic Monkeys - AM

Arctic Monkeys have been one of my favourite bands since 2006, when my dad reluctantly lent me his copy of Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Of course, I'm extremely biased, as they hail from God's own back garden, Yorkshire, like me. But that aside, I think they're fantastic and like many other fans, I have been patiently awaiting the release of their fifth album, for almost 2 years.

When they burst onto the music scene with their triumphantly successful first album, they were just shy adolescent boys that most of the country, let alone the world, could barely understand - five albums later and they are arguably one of the biggest bands in the world at the minute, with a hugely dedicated fan-base.

Over the last year, Arctic Monkeys have cleverly teased fans, rationing them almost, by drip-feeding new material and live performances bit by bit. The release of R U Mine? back in February 2012 sparked early excitement for the new album, showcasing not only a sharp new look, but also an interesting and incredibly appealling new sound for the band. Their next single Do I Wanna Know? was released early this year, ahead of their amazing headlining set at Glastonbury, which reminded us just what it is we love about Arctic Monkeys.

(Image found @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arctic_Monkeys_-_AM.png)

A few months later and we finally have what we've been so eagerly anticipating, their fifth studio album, AM. On first listen it is apparent that those mere adolescents who introduced us to I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor have grown up a hell of a lot; presenting us with an edgier and much more matured sound. Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, who collaborated with Arctic Monkeys on this record, describes it as "a really cool, sexy, after-midnight album" and you can certainly understand his point as there is something undeniably cool about this album. The album opens with Do I Wanna Know? -  a single that I personally have over-played this Summer, because of its catchy beat and dirty sounding riffs. Following this is last year's hit, R U Mine?. I love both of these songs but I have to admit, opening with 2 big tracks like this, obviously leaves the rest of the album with a lot to live up to.

Like most albums, there are some tracks that I instantly liked, and others I wasn't so sure of, but after a few listens some of those songs have grown on me. Personal highlights for me include Knee Socks, I Want It All and Snap Out Of It - three of the faster songs on the album. The band had many different influences during the production of this album, from Black Sabbath to OutKast. While these are at opposite sides of the music spectrum, they have helped Arctic Monkeys create an album that contrasts sounds of rock and hip-hop. As mentioned earlier they had one particular collaborator who helped to nurture this sound, the only man who could ever make being ginger cool as fuck, Josh Homme. He is reported to have worked specifically on One For The Road and Knee Socks but I find his influence to be apparent in many of the songs. Badass QOTSA-esque harmonies and riffs accompanied by Alex Turner's kitchen-sink lyrics and broad Sheffield twang are a winning combination and pure pleasure for the ears.

While I find some tracks on this album to be completely different to anything Arctic Monkeys have done before, there are a few bluesy tracks on AM that also wouldn't sound out of place on Suck It and See, such as No. 1 Party Anthem and Mad Sounds. Alex switches into crooner mode on these two tracks, which have a soft vintage sound in comparison to songs such as Do I Wanna Know? and Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?

"I wanna be your Ford Cortina, I will never rust" 
"Let me be your leccy meter and I'll never run out"  
 - I Wanna Be Yours. 

One thing I really love about Arctic Monkeys is how real they are. Since their first album, they've told life exactly how it is through their songs. Alex has a real knack for creating lyrics that are effortless but absolutely genius. And this album is no different. I also love the constant references to popular culture in their songs, such as "Shes got a Barbarella silver swimsuit" from Arabella and the reference to Mean Streets and The Ronettes in Knee Socks. 

While there are bound to be many mixed reviews of this album, due to people's opposing opinions on the Arctic Monkeys and their development as a band, I personally found AM to be a gem. It fulfilled the Arctic Monkeys shaped whole in my life, and I'm currently playing the hell out of it. Some songs can be easily overlooked, but the rest are modern masterpieces, and I have no doubt that many of them will be big hits (especially Arabella). To put it simply, this album got me through a twelve hour night shift, and that is all the judgement I need. 

Safe to say, I've always believed the hype!


  1. my all time favourite band so i love this post! haha i found them through my dad too! my favourites from AM (not counting the singles) are Arabella and No.1 Party Anthem plus there is something undeniably special about their version of John Cooper Clarke's 'I wanna be yours'.

    amy x

  2. YES I LOVE THIS POST. Arctic Monkeys are my absolute favourite band in the whole wide world. I love their new album although admittedly it took me a few listens through to really get into it - they really took on a new style this time! Absolutely love Arabella, probably my fave track on the album! xx

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  3. thanks guys! they're awesome, wish i had tickets to see them this year, but i have too many days off for gigs in november/december and work would be on the verge of firing me if i had many more haha.