Thursday, May 31, 2007

Second Thoughts on the Arctic Monkeys, Elaborated

I could never see what the big deal about their first album was. I didn't dislike the album; I just didn't think it was as wondrous as everyone kept saying. All the virtues that critics and fans were attributing to the Arctic Monkeys--memorable melodies, rock 'n' roll fun, and witty lyrics--I just did not hear. That didn't stop me from enjoying certain gems on Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, like "When the Sun Goes Down" and "A Certain Romance."

I was never a passionate fan.

I've revised my opinion a bit since I've heard the second Arctic Monkeys album, Favourite Worst Nightmare. I can't say I've altered my view of the first record too much, but I do think that this one is pretty bloody brilliant. It has all the merits people heard in the first album and much more. It's loud, bouncy, fun, melodic, atmospheric, dark, romantic, and beautiful.

The album opens with "Brianstorm," probably the loudest, fastest Arctics jaunt. From the start the album is loud and fast, and an atmosphere of ennui and world-sickness pervades the entire time. The music has bravado and punch; all the lyrics are essentially pained or dark: at the ripe old age of 21, Turner seems repulsed and disillusioned with the world. Most of these songs paint a rather sordid picture of the rock world: fakers, poseurs, whores, and deluded egomaniacs are everywhere. Apparently.

There's really no point in listing my favorite songs, but I will say that "Teddy Picker" is the smartest and funniest--and most genuinely pissed off and disgusted-- put-down of rock scenesters and hipsters I've ever heard. "Fluorescent Adolescent" is lovely, "Only Ones Who Know" is actually achingly pretty, and "Old Yellow Bricks" might be their finest moment yet. Okay, there I went and named song titles anyway. The whole album is well worth your time, though; they've certainly come a long way (in my opinion) from the first album.

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