“We’re Arctic Monkeys and this is ‘I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor’. Don’t believe the hype,” croaked Alex Turner way back in 2005. Way back before the quiff and the leather jacket.
Arctic Monkeys photographed by Esquire (2014). Image taken from here.
The song stuck in my head for several days, and the entire album would always be on my repertoire of alternative music in the 00’s. Arctic Monkeys delivered catchy tunes with explosive lyrics, along with their original Yorkshire accent. A few British bands I know that still keeping their accent while singing (remember The Libertines?), just because they feel weird to sound American-ish. It is funny because their last three albums were made in the US and the foursome (Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Nick O’Malley and Jamie Cook) have moved to LA for some time. Hanging around with model girlfriend, shipped martini, and wear sunglasses indoor. American-ish is a common word they’re now associated with. Something that you won’t believe the lads would do on their early years. Back then, they were famous for turning down interviews and awards, they went to award ceremony dressed in costume, be it a Wizard of Oz or The Village People. One of my favorite live performance of the band is when they dressed in a clown attire in Jonathan Ross show singing Fluorescent Adolescent. Now, with five albums on the rack and lot of awards to collect, they still ask us not to believe the hype.
Their début album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) is great, focused on Sheffield nightlife and even prostitution (When The Sun Goes Down), they gave such powerful rock performance with some tunes that we can still dance around. But they really got me with their last song titled A Certain Romance. A song that clicked me for about 8 years or so. A song that contained the word ‘romance’ but not about ‘love’. NME ranked it no. 10 on their 100 Songs of the Decade and it would always be on my list of songs of the decade too.
The original formation of Arctic Monkeys (2006). Image taken from here.
Arctic Monkeys’ latest album AM (a rip off out of Velvet Underground’s VU) sounds way different from any other records they had. Mixing hip hop tunes and R&B, with falsetto backing vocals and lusty lyrics. The very proof that the band is not a one trick pony. I first listened to it on my way to the office and I’ve been hypnotized for the whole ride.
Most of my favorite Arctic Monkeys songs are still the ones from 2006 – 2007, but I’m glad that the band evolves musically through time. AM is not the first time you’d be blown away, their third album Humbug (2009) is definitely the game changer. Like I said before, the 00’s is a good decade for alternative/rock music and Arctic Monkeys might be just another indie band that flourished after the birth of The Strokes. In early years, Turners tried so hard not to sound like Julian Casablanca and The Strokes. You should watch them covering Take It or Leave It. But with the birth of Humbug (and Josh Homme’s helping hand), I daresay Arctic Monkeys just becomes some milestone of the history. Watch this awesome video of them performed Humbug’s track on Web Transmission. I guess at some point, you just don’t want to hear the duplication of their debut album over and over again. A point that made the monkeys survived the hype.
The band is also famous for their B-side tradition, sometimes I found it more appealing than the ones on the album. Songs like Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweetheart, Temptation Greets You Like Naughty Friend (they sang this song feat. Dizzee Rascal in Glastonbury 2007), and The Bakery, are gold.
AM is a big hit in the US, they gained a lot of new fans with their new sound. Some that would Reblog post on Tumblr, making Alex Turner the rock god, changing his status from ‘shy and adorable’ to ‘sexy and dreamy’. To be honest, I miss him with sweaters and those wild messy hair. Oh, by the way, I always think that Humbug hair is the best hair.
Arctic Monkeys circa Humbug (2009). Image taken from here.
Fans from early days sometimes loathe the band because of their current appearance, the Elvis-esque accent critics from Glastonbury 2013 and the Brits Awards 2014 speech are enough to split fans from calling them either legend or some jerk getting drunk. Nonetheless, they’re still playing good music and they still love their home and family (Turner got Sheffield flower tattoo on his arms, Helders got Mum heart tattoo, and earlier the two of them was photographed in a wedding of one Andy Nicholson, the band former bassist). Maybe, they’re not jerking around that much.
Now, with songs lyrically powerful as Arabella, catchy sounds as R U Mine?, and B-side as good as Stop the World I Wanna Get Off With You, at least you know that they’re still going to be around for some times without bothering question of “Who the fuck are Arctic Monkeys?”.
And yeah Turner is still writing the same exciting lyrics I’ve known really well. One of the main reasons why I love Arctic Monkeys and the reason why I promise myself to write about his outer space lyrics someday. Catch the miraculous lyrics here.
PS: Written to some desperation of missing a chance not watching them live at Summersonic 2014 :)) Sending good luck to the one mate, M. Insan Kamil. Ayo Insan, kamu pasti bisa!