‘AM’ marked a return to form for Arctic Monkeys. After the release of ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ and ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, I felt their music took a bit of a dip. They tried some new stuff which didn’t work out, even their records cover art was slated at one point. Then, for the this record, then drew on fresh influences. So, after two sub-par records, how did the Arctic Monkeys find their way in from the cold once more?
You’ve probably heard this record before. Everyone has. You know how good it is. The new approach was brought on by their psychedelic and hard rock influences as well as hip-hop. There’s noticeable variations in all the tracks which is something unique to this record compared to their previous ones. There’s slow builders such as the opener ‘Do I Wanna Know’, where the guys place massive emphasis on the drums and guitar before Alex Turners comes in with some of his best lyrics yet;
“Have you no idea that you’re in deep,
I dreamt about you every night this week”.
I know that’s just a little snippet, but the depth of those lyrics runs throughout. That focus on telling stories is also evident on the final track ‘I Wanna Be Yours’. The band have always been admirers of the English poet John Cooper Clarke and this one is a reworking of one of his poems. I think it’s a fantastic addition, a cover of sorts! ‘R U Mine’ is a hell of a track, blitzing its way through 3 minutes. The title is actually a funny contrast to the emphasis they placed on the lyrical content, with the abbreviated ‘are’ and ‘you’ being similar to that in a 12 year-old’s text messages. The glowing reception this record received is largely down to the quality of each track and how their individuality plays into each other. They keep their cheeky side alive too with tracks ‘One For The Road’ and ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When Your High’ which they needed to do because that’s why we love them.
‘Mad Sounds’ is a track that I love. It’s like nothing they’ve made before and it sounds so timeless. That “Ooh la la la” chorus comes straight out of some crooners No.1 smash hit from decades gone by. Beautifully done. I’m hoping for more of the same from the upcoming Arctic Monkeys record. If the guys are anywhere near as bold as they are here we could be in for something really special.