Saturday, 7 September 2013

REVIEW: 'AM' - Arctic Monkeys

Saturday, 7 September 2013
I guess when beginning a blog, putting your life, whether private or not, on the internet can be a little daunting and I have some sort of fear where people who know me will look at the blog and judge me. I guess you’re supposed to start off telling people (or no one in my case) a bit about yourself, why you want to spend your time writing nonsense which no one will read – I don’t get that.

Arctic Monkeys 'AM'

You can learn all about me in time, but number one, nothing makes me happier than a new Arctic Monkeys record. Boy, did they deliver. ‘AM’ is released on Monday and I received my copy on Friday. At the moment it’s all I can listen to. I wish with certain bands, books, films and tv, you could just erase everything you’d seen and heard and just feel those emotions all over again for the first time.

I recommend: Knee Socks, Arabella, No.1 Party Anthem 

I was supposed to be writing this album review for work, but unfortunately other things pushed it out of the way and I decided, why not just write it somewhere else?

AM is both full of surprises, where you thought Arctic Monkeys couldn’t possibly get any better or sound sharper and also everything you expected, wanted from them and more. Having always felt Suck It and See had took a bit of a backseater, my doubts about album 5 were soon put to bed.

Alex Turner is not only a skilled songwriter and performer, but a poet, an artist, a comedian and a story-teller. The way the 12-track album is laced with dark humour and a solid backstory is infallible. Listening to I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor now, you wouldn’t think these songs were by the same band – minus a change of bass player a couple of years down the line.

To me, this album really says, “We’re Arctic-fucking-Monkeys, who the hell are you?”

Upon listening to the album, you can easily forgive the decision to feature R U Mine? on it and focus on the 10 other brilliant songs on it. I say 10 because for me, track 5 I Want It All just could have been so much more. It’s the real Brick by Brick of AM, if you know what I mean.

Do I Wanna Know? and Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? (the band love question marks, oohs and shoowaps on this album, just FYI) or as I like to refer to them 'the-two-songs-we-already-knew-about-and-had-been-hearing-for-months-previous-to-this', are the shit. Fantastic. Phenomenal. Not what I was waiting for though.

It’s hard to believe I ever doubted Alex, Matt, Jamie and Nick’s abilities before AM and it’s definitely past the time we should have been believing the hype. This record is full of old school hip hop, unique Arctic Monkeys sounding guitar riffs and nods to Josh Homme and John Cooper Clarke to boot.

You can’t define this band under one genre, they are simply the best band in the world right now. I’m not just making an ambitious statement. Although some people yearn for the trackie-bottoms-tucked-in-socks days of Whatever People Say I Am…That’s What I’m Not, I feel AM might have surpassed the bands’ last 8 years, give or take a few months, in music. They’ve matured as musicians and performers and I can’t bloody wait to go see them in Glasgow this November.

Now, Turner has penned a few love songs in his time (hello, see 505 please) but No. 1 Party Anthem may have to be some of his best work to date. It reminds me of Secret Door, confetti raining down on the crowd, 4 years ago. That song would have fit perfectly on Humbug.

Another song that would have fit perfectly elsewhere, is Fireside. In my opinion, although it is a superb song, it sounds like it should be on a Last Shadow Puppets record, not the masterpiece that is AM.

Arabella is one of my early favourites – although that is subject to change. The arrangement is like liquid gold and features the bulk of the hip-hop influence used on the album, truly a work of art in all respects. You can’t help thinking, “fuck, this is good.”

If you want to know more about it, I’ve rambled on enough and you should probably go buy it in a shop on Monday or something. It’s hard to give this album a rating, but I’d probably give it a 10/10 anyway. You just can’t compare songs on this album, to songs from 5 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love every Arctic Monkeys song unconditionally, but something like Mad Sounds or Knee Socks pisses itself laughing in the face of I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.

Holy Arctic Monkey, hope you enjoyed!