THE LATE LATE REVIEW: ARCTIC MONKEYS – WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT’S WHAT I’M NOT

On this week’s Late Late Review Tom’s gone back to the indie disco of 2006 and Arctic Monkeys’ debut album.

Release Date: January 2006

Achievements: Never mind becoming the fastest selling album in UK music history at the time and going 4x Platinum here too, it also won a huge number of awards including, but not limited to: NME Album of the Year, Best Album at the Q Awards, Time Album of the Year, Best British Album and Best British Group at the 2007 BRIT Awards – so I guess we can call it fairly successful!

Rating: 82/100 on Metacritic and 5 stars from AllMusic, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times and 4 stars from Q and Rolling Stone

Picture the scene: it’s 2008, it’s Wednesday night, Uni students from across Bristol are piled into Syndicate night club, Propaganda is in full swing. Mr. Brightside has just finished and you know what’s coming. It was a well known fact that a night at Propaganda wasn’t complete without at least one visit to the Arctic Monkeys.

That said, it was only ever two songs – both on this album. If it wasn’t I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor or When The Sun Goes Down, it wasn’t getting played.

This adds up to me having never heard the entire album.

Arctic Monkeys have a very distinctive sound. With elements of indie rock, garage rock revival, post-punk revival and punk rock (according to someone much more qualified than me at identifying these things), you can always tell when you’re listening to one of their albums.

It needs to be mentioned that Arctic Monkeys were one of the first bands to gain mainstream popularity via the internet. With very little in the way of traditional promotion, the band’s insane success with their first album (taking the fastest selling album spot in the UK and also achieving the accolade of the second fastest selling debut indie album in history in the USA) they heralded a new way of getting music out to people.  

The themes dealt with in this album have lead people to consider it something of a concept album. As most of the songs deal with how people behave in and around nightclubs (I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor which is quite openly about someone “making the eyes” across a club, From The Ritz to the Rubble which starts with lyrics about a totalitarian bouncer, and Dancing Shoes which is about someone who’s literally just out to find someone to hook up with, but pretends not to be) or at night in general (if you didn’t get that When the Sun Goes Down was literally about a grubby bloke looking for prostitutes then you’ve clearly not been singing along to it at 3am in a sweaty club), it will come as no surprise that it’s considered an ode to the lives of young clubbers.

This whole album is full of music that could be played at any alternative club night and get everyone moshing or dancing like a loon. The album’s strength is that the songs don’t vary a great deal in tone, which means that if it’s on while you’re pre-drinking, you aren’t suddenly going to get a ballad or something which is a bit of a downer to pull you out of the mood.

Having said that, it’s probably more likely to get you in the mood for a fight…

Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *