Teri (the original GATR) asked me to review this album since she’s the pinnacle of Arctic Monkeys fans and didn’t think she could be objective. No pressure…. Yeah, right.
For me AM marks an evolution of the classic Arctic Monkeys’ sound – this time it’s got a little bit more of a r&b/funk feel to it. I’ll admit I was skeptical when they self-described it as inspired by Dr. Dre.
Hip Hop has a place in the music world for sure, I just wasn’t sure how that would mesh with Arctic Monkeys slow, sultry style. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they work together. In fact, this album is all about the beat and creating a mood. Alex Turner’s signature prose is present in the unique lyrics, just adding to the allure.
Most importantly I felt like this was a solid, cohesive album. None of the songs felt like it was out-of-place; they all seem to share a common theme and sexy overtone. This includes R U Mine? which was released as a single for Record Store Day 2012. We loved that song when it came out and are still in love with it now. It’s inclusion makes perfect sense, and it almost sets the tone for what came after. Matt Helders’ falsetto backup is prominent, and we’re happy to see it appear in several other tracks on this album. Teri mentioned that he and Nick O’Malley seem to be the break out stars of this album, and I have to agree. They really shine from track to track.
Do I Wanna Know? was the first new track to hit American radio, and listeners have just devoured it. They performed it live during their last US mini-tour, and its slow, sexy sound has ensured it will be a success. Teri herself has listened to it over 1500 times. While I can’t say it’s been that many for me, it’s definitely one of my favorite songs from AM.
A few other highlights for us include the following tracks:
Arabella – We both agree this song will be another to see lots of airtime. It’s got great guitar throughout and some awesome lyrics, including one of Teri’s favorite lines “And when she needs some shelter from reality, she takes a dip in my daydreams…”
No 1 Party Anthem – This one was kind of the surprise track of the album for me. I expected it to be a hardcore, driving beat, but instead it’s got a slower, smoother sound. Another great showcase of lyrics – “It’s not like I’m falling in love, I just want you to do me no good and you look like you could…” This one could easily be one of our favorites.
Snap Out of It – I like a good, strong beat, and this track delivers. It’s probably one of the places the hip hop/rap influence was most evident for me. It’s got great backing vocals that balance the song well.
To be fair, it would take a much longer post to do this album justice, so I’ll just say it bears listening to several times to take it all in. This album of all the Arctic Monkeys’s albums since I started listening in 2006 seems to have what it takes to break out and make it big. Why now? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m sure it has something to do with their progress and consistent release of quality music. AM is sure to captivate whether you’re a die-hard Arctic Monkeys fan or just a casual listener.
Album Rating: 9/10