Album Review: Arctic Monkeys - AM

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When a band explodes onto the scene as much as Arctic Monkeys did back in 2005 - with their record breaking début album - they kinda' shoot themselves in the foot a little, for being so popular from the get go. Creating a sound that is somewhat of a post-punk revival: focusing around loud guitars, eloquent singers and writing aggro pop songs that you can't help but dance along to, made them one of the biggest bands in Britain. Now, with their fifth studio album, the hype surrounding the band has faded, and in my eyes they are doing their best to recapture the musical expertise that made them such big stars. With 'AM' the quartet from Sheffield have done a little to save their name - as this album is kinda' good.


Alex Turner, has without a doubt never sung better than he has on their newest album, 'AM.' For the first time in his career he seems to be pushing his voice to places that it has never been before; he is truly making an effort to push this band up a level - and vocally, at least, he succeeded. The perfect example of this is the ballad 'No. 1 Party Anthem,' in which Turner fluidly shifts from high to low notes, while reminiscing on a tale of drunken advances on girls. One commendable thing I have always said about the Monkeys, is that lyrically they have always been able to tell the most gloriously paced and perfectly catchy songs. Now that he is pushing his voice, it just works so much better.


Yet, this album still has some absolute stinkers on it that completely disregard the hard work that has been done on all the other songs, completely screwing up this album and making it less enjoyable to listen to. Oh-la-la-la heavy 'Mad Sounds' is just a massive pile of average - the chorus seems uninspired and the song as a whole is just boring. Mid-tempo rocker 'Arabella' takes Turner's voice (probably the best thing about this whole album) and surrounds it with power chords that completely over-power everything else, turning the heaviest song on the album into one of the weakest songs on the album. If it wasn't for the very excellent guitar solo at the end it would die a very quick death.


That is the problem I have with this album. It is good, no denying it. However, it is dragged down by three of four songs that seriously make this album a giant bag of average. Alex Turner's voice and lyrics are outstanding, yet the general composition of the songs at times just seem to hinder and distract you from the aforementioned best qualities of this band. That is why I said this album is unfortunately only 'kinda good' - because of the discrepancy of quality between each and every song. 


Mark Wiglesworth

I am a student at the University of Portsmouth doing a Journalism and Media Studies degree who has an absolute passion for anything involving films or music. Give me any piece of media, I will do my best to review it.


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