Arctic Monkeys had something to prove with AM. After the somewhat disappointing and criticised 2011 album Suck it and See, all eyes were on them to see what they’d do next. The answer is AM, a great mix of their old style and some new ideas. With guest appearances from Josh Homme, Pete Thomas and Bill Ryder-Jones, there’s not much that could go wrong on this album.
One of my favourite things about Alex Turner is his completely unpretentious accent and the use of slang in his lyrics. Saying “summat” instead of “something” and “settee” instead of “couch” are two examples of this in ‘Do I Wanna Know.’ The track sets the scene and atmosphere for this album perfectly, with the superb combination of dark lyrics, sexy guitar riff and falsetto harmonies. It’s definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album, and a perfect choice to open the album.
2012 single ‘R U Mine’ fits this album excellently and gets better each time you hear it. The use of some more falsetto harmonies and that catchy guitar riff, coupled with one hell of a drumbeat complete this track. With each listen, you notice another layer and get a deeper feel for how good this song actually is.
The next few tracks follow the same kind of formula, with ‘I Want it All’ being an early standout. The misleadingly named ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ is anything but. This soft, slow ballad is then followed by another ballad named ‘Mad Sounds.’ After such a consistent build of energy and greatness, having these two songs together slows down the movement of the album and makes it lag a little. Arctic Monkeys are best when they’re rocking out and their slower songs can sometimes be a little dull in comparison. They’ve obviously been included for some contrast, but if what you do is already great, there’s little need for it. These tracks aren’t terrible on their own, but having them together slows momentum and is a little disappointing.
Luckily, this lag doesn’t last long and latest single ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’ swoops in to pick up the pace and give us some more sexy bass riffs. I’m willing to put money down that if you say this song doesn’t get stuck in your head for at least a day after you’ve heard it, you’re lying. The rest of the album is consistent and the closing track – ballad ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ – is a great way to finish the album off.
Arctic Monkeys can breathe a sigh of relief now that AM has shown they’re still relevant and worth listening to. They’ve achieved a great album that showcases their talent as musicians and songwriters.
This is ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’:
Grab a copy of Arctic Monkeys’ AM now through Domino Records.