I’m not saying that I have never listened to Arctic Monkeys that’s not possible I am saying that I never really gave there albums an in depth listen. This changed after my good friend Tom let me borrow his CD’s. Well the ones that he recommended the most and that was the first three records (it wasn’t like he told me not to listen to Suck It and See (2011) or AM (2013).
It was impossible not to have heard them when they first exploded onto the music scene. The Sheffield natives did so because they had boundless amounts of talent and where able to support it with the high energy live shows. A fanbase quickly grew around them in their native city and surrounding county. Alongside the ever growing number of fans the media and radio stations started to champion them as well.
Coming straight into the album charts at number 1, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) became the fastest selling debut record in chart history with 363,735 records being picked up in its first week. It still holds that title and it will do for a very long time. It not only performed ridiculously well being consumed by hundreds of thousands of people it is a genuinely fantastic album. They had the chops to back it up the massive sales. This is even proved because the album also won the Mercury Prize in 2006 beating one of my most beloved bands Editors (their first album was also nominated The Back Room) so yeah it is a good record to say the least. Backed up by songs such as: Dancing Shoes, Fake Tales of San Francisco and From the Ritz to the Rubble the abundance of youthful energy from the group was infectious to all who heard them. Mixed with the class of Mr Turner‘s lyrical ability (it was only a small taste of just how good he is got the bands career off to a flyer to say the least.
When the second album came around it had a ridiculously high bar to reach, I like to think that the band knew this and took it on head first. Happily they did Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007) was yet again a hit. Brianstorm rockets the album into a fast paced epic opener. It was and possibly is my personal favourite it is just so darn good with the lyric ‘Bet there’s hundreds of blokes that have wept because you’ve stolen their thunder’ not only does this one line paint a vivid image of this character that thinks he is ‘the guy’ when he really isn’t. Then on Teddy Picker there are more memorable lines Turner again reinforced his stupendous lyrical ability. Though without the music it would not be half as good, on every song there is a hook, melody that sinks into you and you let it because it is great.
On my old radio show myself, my co-host Tom and the guest for that week, Chris Bickley debated what their best record was. It was a tossup between the first two we could not come to a unanimous conclusion as both are fantastic. But there was a criticism thrown out that some tracks are ‘just filler’ on both records. After in depth listens I could not disagree more! Especially on Favourite Worst Nightmare where every song is good at worst but mainly it is one of the most solid records to come out in that decade. From 505 (a special end to the album is simply wonderful) to Do Me a Favour any band/artist would have been more than ecstatic to have put a song of that calibre together.
Onto the final album that I have gotten to, on the Arctic Monkeys journey Humbug produced by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Eagles of Death Metal, Them Crooked Vultures and Desert Sessions fame. I know that I have raved and said a lot here about how great Alex Turner is as a song writer but it simply cannot be denied just how great he is. There are very few like him, he has been one of the best for a decade now. Cornerstone again shows his evolution. I was going to point out a certain line but that’d be pointless just give it a listen. Repeating hit after hit that has the quality lyrical complexity/cleverness that is rarely found anywhere especially not in the popular charts. I feel as though Humbug does not get the respect it deserves even though Crying Lightning (for some reason I didn’t like the single back in 2010) is on there. It may just be that I never really followed them close enough to notice praise it may have been given at the time of its release. Anyway it is a hell of an album (My Propeller is possibly my favourite album opener of theirs. Secret Door is oh so great also to mention a few).
Yes since the release of Humbug there has been a change in the bands attitudes, style and overall persona due to Turner’s Californianisms that he has absorbed. After numerous listens to the records mentioned above I understand why people are so devoted to them. I now don’t say that Favourite Worst Nightmare is my favourite but instead it changes upon which of the three I last listened to. Whether you are still a fan or not of Arctic Monkeys it is undeniable that they are a landmark for British music over the past decade.