The Pinnacle of Arctic Monkeys: AM
Seven years ago, there was a band from Sheffield flourished on every person ears. And then went to the heart. Arctic Monkeys, with their Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, successfully captured moment. The time when “Mardy Bum” (“And I can’t be arsed to carry on in this debate/ That reoccurs, oh when you say I don’t care/ Well of course I do, yeah I clearly do!”) got stuck into my head, the time they still wore hoodie with long hair that shrouding their face plus knackered Converse.
Seven days ago, I felt the same feeling as seven years ago. AM, initial name for the band or anything you could use it to your own purpose. While Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not got by on wry smiles and witty mutterings, AM is upfront and bluntly engages with the listener. Arctic Monkeys’ influence (on British and American), has in large part been measured by Alex Turner’s talent for combining words into phrases. Much of the album’s true beauty reveals itself after multiple play – the sexy glimmering patterns of drum that Matt Helders provides, Jamie Cook screeching guitar riff, and interplay by Nick O’Malley bass.
Turner’s lyrics are still the tied knot that hold everything in place. Though their songs have always been characterized by inspired image and clever character. And that’s how they draw me in (again), with themes and lyrics that resonate across the soundscapes they create, and characters we recognize in ourselves, whether it’s the sweet-lasting-devotion on “Do I Wanna Know?” (“I‘m sorry to interrupt, I’m just constantly on the cusp of trying to kiss you/I don’t know if you feel the same as I do.”) or the hope-to-be-somebody-to-someone on “Snap Out Of It” (“Forever isn’t for everyone/ Is forever for you?/ It sounds like settling down or giving up/ But it don’t sound much like you girl.”).
Developments include a focus on falsetto on “I Want It All”, “One For The Road”, and “Knee Socks” thanks to Helders and O’Malley. Dr. Dre and Drake reference on “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” with hip-hop melody to catch the attention. Classic rock synced with metal riffs and punctuated by big choruses on “R U Mine?” and “Arabella”. “Fireside” with evoking R&B girl groups and softening the edges voice of Turner’s crooning. As a big fan of Velvet Undergrounds, I found a happiness on “Mad Sounds”, it gets better when melody and swing powering up and aching ballads of “oh la la la” and the repetition.
The ironic centerpiece of “No. 1 Party Anthem” feels like the pinnacle of the band’s progress, gorgeous heart-melting balladry which takes the melancholic romanticism of “Cornerstone” and sounds like “Piledriver Waltz” with more mature attitudes. “The look of love – the rush of blood/ The “She’s with me” – the Gallic shrug” tells the loneliness and the hustle at once. Album closer, “I Wanna Be Yours” lyric adapted from John Cooper Clarke song with the same name. The poet tells me about expressing love with deepest or highest thought. Or as simple as “Maybe I just wanna be yours.”.