Taking On: Arctic Monkeys


The Arctic Monkeys were formed in Sheffield, England on 2002 when Alex Turner and his neighbor, Jamie Cook, acquired their first guitar as a Christmas gift. Later on, Andy Nicholson and Matt Helders joined the band with Andy playing the bass and Helders the drums. Their main influences are: The Strokes, Oasis, The Libertines and The Beatles. The lyrics to their songs normally pictures the social reality from the Sheffield party scene with a little bit of humor thrown in. We can see an example of this in one of their most famous songs: "When The Sun Goes Down" in which Alex Turner makes reference to a lady of the night and how he sees the way that business works.

From 2002 to 2005 they've acquired most of their fame from blogs on the internet and by giving out free copies of their demos to people who uploaded them into the web. It was until 2005 that they released their first material: Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys, an EP composed by the song "Fake Tales of San Francisco" and its B-Side "From the Ritz to the Rubble". In that same year the Arctic Monkeys got signed to an independent record label named Domino Records, which released their first single, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor", and went straight to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart.

 "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor"  music video.

The Monkeys debut album was released on January  23 on the year 2006 with more than 360,000 units being sold and achieving the surprising record on being the debut album with more sales on the history of the U.K. within the first week of release.

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not it's a reference to a phrase from a 60's movie: Sunday Night and Sunday Morning. With a fast rhythm, memorable guitar riffs and with lyrics that any high school-er  can relate to, their debut album put them into the list of new rock bands to look into and one of the bands with the brightest future, it also became an instant indie rock classic.
 
"Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" cover album.

The Arctic Monkeys have had some changes since the direction their music was going in 2006, after the band's first album, it came Favourite Worst Nightmare in 2007 and it was an equal success to their first album, but some people criticized in how they did not change anything at all. In my opinion it was an excellent follow up to their debut album, I even consider it louder than it's predecessor and it has more singalong songs and... you know what they say; if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The first time the monkeys changed direction musically was with their 3rd album: Humbug, which was produced with the help of Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age and James Ford. Humbug was a totally different direction from Favourite Worst Nightmare, it has darker riffs and slower beats, also Alex Turner evolved into a most complete writer creating themes and stories with turns and twists all throughout the songs. One of my favorite songs from this album is "Crying Lighting" which was the lead single for Humbug.


 "Crying Lighting"  music video.

The year 2011 was the continuation of their "Desert era", after Humbug they released Suck It and See a more laid back and down-to-earth album than anything they've made, but keeping that vibe that characterized any song from the Arctic Monkeys. Once again produced with the help from James Ford it was recorded in the famous Sound City Studio, which Dave Grohl recently released a documentary about it. The lead single was "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair" the heavier song from their album and a song that talks about anything that's better before sitting down if they've moved your chair. The stories and themes in this album are a little less elaborated than in Humbug, but they are still one of the finest pieces of work from Alex Turner besides, this album has the most songs with my favorite lyrics.

On 26 February 2012, they released a new song named "R U Mine?" that to the surprise of anyone, it was nothing similar to anything they've done, but it was great. Heavy rock beats, hip hop beats and lyrics about lust was the new direction that the Arctic Monkeys took with this new single. With the new hype from their recent single the monkeys played in the opening ceremony for the London Summer Olympics, performing their first hit single: "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" and a famous song from the Beatles "Come Together", the other artist that played in the ceremony was Paul McCartney.

 
"Come Together" covered by the Arctic Monkeys.

After all the madness that surrounded the Arctic Monkeys and their participation in the Olympics,surprisingly enough they weren't done. The monkeys announced that their 5th studio album was going to be released on September 9, 2013, with their first single "Do I Wanna Know?" and man what a single, a song with a heavy riff and a slow beat simulating hammers crushing into a metal surface, with Alex Turner singing lyrics about lust and love above that well crafted music. They tour to almost every place and were headliners to almost every festival on earth, including the legendary Glastonbury in which they did pretty well alongside the other headliners Mumford & Sons and The Rolling Stones.


 "Do I Wanna Know?" music video by the Arctic Monkeys.

The Arctic Monkeys 5th studio album titled "AM" debuted at number 1 in the UK album charts, with more than 150,000 copies in their first week. Thanks to this they were the first independent label band with five consecutive number 1 albums in the UK.

An album with influences coming from hip-hop and 70's rock a pretty weird combination if you ask me, but not a weird one for the Arctic Monkeys and the genius behind their massive success: Alex Turner, the one man that still surprises us with the images displayed by the lyrics from their songs and that he does not fail to do so in this his 5th album, with lyrics not about a taxi story but ones that involves isolation, frustration and lust.


Arctic Monkeys 5th studio album "AM".

With "AM" the Arctic Monkeys received mainstream success and were the band to hear almost all year long, winning numerous awards, including the Brit award for best album and a nomination for the Mercury prize. 2013 was the year for the Arctic Monkeys and an insane year for me because as you may know, I love the Arctic Monkeys and that's why I decided to dedicate this post to them, because even though they have 8 years as a band since their debut album, they've done so many things and I believe they are one of those bands that can save Rock n' Roll.

Every concert has an end and this post is not the exception, every concert closes with a song that has to leave you satisfy, that one song that after being played you feel like a complete person and that's a must when you go to concerts from groups that have a pretty big and great catalog of music to choose from like the Arctic Monkeys. The View From The Afternoon, Mardy Bum, From The Ritz To The Rubble and A Certain Romance are an example of songs that are amazing and the monkeys do not play so often. But without a doubt "505" is that song, it builds the tension since the start with a slow intro and a 2 chord song played by an organ, while Matt Helders shifts the rhythm throughout the song until the breakdown. The perfect song for the end of a concert and this post.


 "505" music video by the Arctic Monkeys.

Hope you enjoyed this frikin' long post and I encourage you to investigate more about the Arctic Monkeys and of course listen to more of their songs. 

No comments:

Post a Comment