Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thrill of Discovery: Arctic Monkeys - Part 3

Day 6: November 20, 2011


Favourite Worst Nightmare left a pretty bad taste in my mouth, so much that I abandoned Arctic Monkeys for a month and a half. Actually, that’s not true. I’ve been listening to Humbug and Suck it and See regularly. Or both are on the iPod and certain songs come up on shuffle and I’m like “Oh this is good.” Humbug is pretty damn fucking good, I’d say. It’s a big step up in maturity (see: no more dance punk bass lines, etc) and Alex Turner’s songwriting evolves into bipedal adult from knuckle dragging club kid.

“My Propeller”

Not a blow you a way lead off track but solid through and through, which is comforting after the amazingly hit or miss Favourite Worst Nightmare(see: “Flourescent Adolescent” being the only hit, the rest, well…).

“Crying Lightning”

Lots of interesting stuff going on here in the gloomy guitar work and Turner’s vocal line. They’re straying away from the big, over the top hooks and it suits them so well. Don’t get me wrong, Arctic Monkey can pull off the massive hooks with ease in the right environment, but Favourite Worst Nightmare seemed so eager to please everyone whereas Humbug is much more internalized, giving less of a fuck, and ultimately sounding like this band making a big step forward.


My favorite video after "Fluorescent Adolescent."

This is a masterpiece of a song. This is everything Arctic Monkeys do well, executed flawlessly and going above and beyond anything I ever expected. A brilliant pop tune carried on the back of Alex Turner’s songwriting prowess. It’s hopelessly sad, a young gentleman so hung up on a young lass he keeps either finding girls who look like her (or do they?) and attempting to woo them and ultimately, pleading to call them the other girl’s name. It’s obsessive and insane and if you’ve been there, it’s pretty accurate. The lyrics manage to be off the cuff and playful(“She was close, close enough to be your ghost/ But my chances turned to toast/ When I asked her if I could call her your name”) while cementing this tragic and pathetic character roaming the bars looking for a replacement. He smells her on a seatbelt and takes the long way home, and ultimately sees this young lass’ sister, picks her up, and she agrees to let him call her his ex-girlfriend’s name. It’s fucking WEIRD. Bizarre and bad-dream like and just gets everything right. If Every song Arctic Monkeys wrote was this good, they could be bigger than the Beatles. Well, maybe…

“Pretty Visitors”

“What came first, the chicken or the dickhead.” Turner’s lyrics are always playful, fun, and appropriate (for the song, not for primary school, church, or ice cream socials, natch). I really like that this band is slipping further and further from their Franz Ferdinand aping/dance-punk roots and this is a weird sort of song, waffling between gothic horror movie music cut with typical, short burst rapid fire bits. Just realized that I used the word “Playful” again, which I guess is what I can’t help describing Arctic Monkeys’ music as because you can’t just say it’s fun over and over again. That and I wrote that bit about “Cornerstone” like a week and a half ago and I realize how lazy I am and how I gotta get this done.

“The Jeweller’s Hands”

ANOTHER dark, weird jam. This one has been coming up a lot when the iPod’s on shuffle and we’re cooking dinner or whatever. And yet, I never turn it to something else. I do really love how they’re branching out into murkier territory. These last few songs make it sound like the band is ready to move on. They’ve gestated long enough in a specific style with specific media ramifications that they can do whatever the fuck they want now because they’re famous.

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