Day 4: October 6, 2011
Favourite Worst Nightmare
What a great video! Seriously! Arctic Monkeys seem to shine when they prove that their simple music can be twisted and morphed into fucking brilliant pop songs if they want it to.
This is the first great track on this record. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s the first really good track on this record, and it’s five songs in. It feels like a departure from the first record in the best way: the way where Arctic Monkeys start to peel past the unavoidable comparisons and get a “That sounds like an Arctic Monkeys song.” Mind, it’s not there yet. Not quite at all, but I’ve been listening to their latest, Suck it and See, in the car on a loop for five days and it feels like more fun to track this young band’s progression up to that point. Puts it all in perspective, because it feels like they’re getting better and better, album after album. Or maybe not better and better. But figuring themselves out more. This one sounds better, nice production and all, but until “Florescent Adolescent” hits it all feels a bit rote. The prior songs on the album, that is. It’s a groovy jam through and through hitting that sweet spot that Arctic Monkeys seem to hit three or four times an album. Chris, just a fucking excellent song. A three minute pop song played to perfection. And an excellent music video directed by Richard Ayoade to boot!
“Only Ones You Know”
Man oh man, the quiet songs is where Alex Turner really gets to shine. The nice new beefed up production works in his favor here, too, in that it stays out of the way while letting all the nice and elegant pretty bits shine through before rushing back into the pretty OK rock music of the next song. But when the lights are dimmed, he can really twist a gorgeous melody around your guts and heartstrings and I don’t know, muscly things that gives you the heavy chest. I don’t feel like these guys are amazing musicians. They’re capable enough, I suppose, at least for what Alex Turner’s songs require, but on a whole the riffs and the basslines tend to err on the side of OK. When there’s less to get in the way of the actual songs, they tend to shine.
Day 5: October 11, 2011
The Rest of this Fucking Album
Remember that last paragraph where I said that Arctic Monkeys’ relied very, very heavily on the talent in Alex Turner’s songwriting? Well, well just yeah. The rest of this album is forgettable. I’ve listened to it three times through looking for a spark of something great and I get some amateurish guitar work and boring ol’ bass lines and all that brashness of the debut but muted because its filtered through some fancy studio boards or whatever. Maybe that’s why the three singles on this album are culled from the first five songs. It seems like Arctic Monkeys have this problem with consistency. Their sound is pretty consistent, I’ll give’em that, but consistently compelling is something they can do maybe 50% of the time. At least that’s what I’ve seen with Suck it and See, which I’m still compulsively listening to in the car despite the album being 50% excellent and 50% just plain boring with a dash of cock-rock. On Favourite Worst Nightmare they’re not quite there yet. Still a handful of British lads getting to play at being rock stars, which is awesome, but the back half of this album is mostly chaff. “The Bad Thing” isn’t so bad, it has some really fun vocal delivery that mixes it up enough to keep it going for its pretty short running time.
Revisiting the First half of the record for shits and grins
Ok, this song has something to it. It’s fun, and I think that’s something that for some reason I can’t bring to the table when I’m listening to Arctic Monkeys. Because I hate fun music. I mean, I don’t really hate it, I just generally hate fun. Or I’m indifferent to fun, at least when it comes to music. It doesn’t bother me when its there, but if the song lacks any meatier substance I can tend to overlook the fact that it might have been just good old fashioned fun. The bass line (What is it with the bass lines on this fucking album?) reeks of what Death From Above 1979 did for bass lines in the early 00s and now every bass line sounds crunchy when played with aggression and the distortion turned way up.
The other aforementioned single from the first five songs. This one drowns under an amateurish bass line as well. I wish the music wasn’t so boring, because I really do think Alex Turner has some amazing talent. The sort that’s going to mature with the man. He’s clever. Very clever, good with words and teriffic with melodies. The music, man oh man, it’s just plain uninspiring.
“D is for Dangerous”
This is another one of those “fun songs.” Except in this case, “Fun” means “dance punk revival. At least the songs are very, very short on this record. Particularly in the case of this one, which stays afloat because it’s only a little over two minutes long.