Arctic Monkeys
Favourite Worst Nightmare


4.0
excellent

Review

by RandyfromPennywise USER (34 Reviews)
May 7th, 2007 | 7 replies | 5,239 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

I was thinking about reviewing this album as soon as it came out. I'm glad I didn't. It has steadily grown on me over the past few weeks. This probably comes as much from me really wanting to like this and wanting it to be good, but nonetheless it gets better every time I hear it. Whatever People Say I Am… That’s What I'm Not was always going to be a hard act to follow, but the Sheffield Monkeys have just about settled the argument about whether they are actually that good. They are.

Whatever People Say I Am got a lot of people’s knickers in a twist as I'm sure most of you are aware. The hype surrounding the album was enormous. I remember the first time I saw the film clip for "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" and I heard Alex Turner introduce himself with "Don’t believe the hype". And this was months before the album had even been released! The Favourite Worst Nightmare experience has been a much shorter one. The album was announced, we anticipated it, and it came out. Yes the hype in the media has been enormous, but the mere fact that the album has come out only 15 months after its predecessor is one of its greatest strengths. Yes, there was anticipation. Yes, there was hype. Yes, this won’t be the best album of the year and yes, a lot of people are probably disappointed with it. But yes, it is the proof that these guys are - above all else - a witty and evolving Rock and Indie band that know what they’re doing.

Many pundits have suggested that this album is unpolished and hurried. I think that’s almost the point. There wasn’t any pissing about or a pretentious three-year-wait for the album. It’s here - like it or lump it. And the furious opener Brianstorm kind of sums up this feeling of "let’s get the record out there". But it’s not all brash, ferocious Rock at its Indie best. The blistering Rock of Brianstorm and This House Is A Circus coalesces effortlessly with the timid, mellow offerings like 505 and Only Ones Who Know. The wit and charm of Turner is as conspicuous as ever and the maturity in both the overall sound and approach is unmistakable. The brilliant mix between the dance-infused beats and raw, aggressive Rock manifests itself on Balaclava - arguably the album-highlight. The jolted, stuttering outro is simply marvellous. Not only does it round off Balaclava adeptly, it leads in to Fluorescent Adolescent, only helping to add to the unity of the album. And this second single shows Turner at his lyrically most witty and obnoxious in one that is designed to get the toes tapping. It stands in stark contrast to Brianstorm, again highlighting the diversity and dynamism of the relatively new sound. I’d say Fluorescent Adolescent is the When The Sun Goes Down of the album.

I guess the thing with the Arctic Monkeys is the hype. Apart from anything else, I imagine that just about every Briton, from those in nappies to those in nursing homes, has heard the name "Arctic Monkeys" in the past 12 months. Some people have missed the boat, some are indifferent, and a lot, it seems, are well and truly on the bandwagon. And no doubt the band will draw criticism from a lot of quarters. Not least because they are actually that popular. But I would suggest that when it comes down to the music, they just about live up to it all. They have tried to stay away from the bullshit that has followed them like the plague for 18 months, and Brianstorm was the statement of intent. A brutal and uncompromising opening to the record lets us all know that they haven’t succumbed to their own hype. Many have questioned the lack of a catchy chorus or album-defining hook on the lead-single. My retort? That guitar riff is one of the catchiest of the year. This is genuine fast and hard Rock with all the lyrical prowess expected of Turner. It may not be the dawn of a new era like I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor was, but then again, "See you later, innovator".

It’s hard to know what the masses expected of this record. Why do people actually like Arctic Monkeys? Is it pretty much just because of Alex Turner, or is it the music? For me it’s the whole package, and it’s probably the same for most. But this album is different from the debut in that the guitar work is vicious and demands more of the spotlight, and the band’s sound is generally more impressive and worthy of attention than ever before. The influences are more varied than previously seen with the Monkeys, as the rhythm section fuses together some club-inspired beats and dance-floor hits with genuine Rock. Turner is still unquestionably the focal-point of both the output and the hype but this album is more about Arctic Monkeys than it is about four lads from Sheffield.

There are moments when the calls that the album has been rushed and feels not-quite-finished do hold some weight. For reasons unknown, the dragging-out of songs for a final, unnecessary chorus or outro is used too many times and gets old quickly. More to the point, it takes away the forceful conclusion to some of the songs, like on Brianstorm which should have ended after the last “See you later, innovator”. Only Ones Who Know, while serving its purpose as a slow, reflective ballad, strangely never breaks out in to a heavy chorus or break as it threatens to.

The catchy cries of “You're his favourite worst nightmare” are the highlight of the flowing Rock track D is for Dangerous while the closing lines of Teddy Picker consolidate a strong opening section to the album. (“Assuming that all things are equal, Who’d want to be men of the people, When there’s people like you?”) The brooding ballad Do Me A Favour benefits from the thudding-yet-gentle drumming and the gradually-building guitar and bass work. The track comes to almost a complete standstill as Turner’s vocals and lingering guitar chords take the spotlight for a few bars before the band comes back in and builds superbly towards the thrashing break and final chorus. This House Is A Circus and the brilliantly-witty second verse of The Bad Thing support the second-half of the album, and much like Whatever People Say I Am… That’s What I’m Not, the album doesn’t fall away at all and remains solid throughout.

I’m not really going to try to talk about the lyrics or vocal delivery too much. I can’t do them justice. As all Arctics fans know, they are probably the raison d’être of the band’s popularity, and the raison d’why-they-are-better-than-their-contemporaries. The cutting one-liners are sprinkled throughout the album like dandruff throughout Donald Trump’s hair and that Sheffield accent is as fitting an accent as there has ever been for the music it leads. Somewhere between Craig Nicholls from The Vines and Mike Skinner of The Streets fame, Turner’s vocal delivery is the distinctive feature of the band, and equally probably their most divisive.

While the soaring heights of Whatever People Say I Am… That’s What I’m Not haven’t been equalled, Favourite Worst Nightmare is undeniably a solid follow-up record that has cemented Arctic Monkey’s place in the British consciousness for the next few years at least. But who cares about all that crap when this is actually great, rockin’ music.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2007



15730 Comments


Nice review. I liked Brianstorm but have no interest in the Arctic Monkeys.

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2007



15730 Comments


Because the Kooks are troo hXc indie.

RandyfromPennywise
May 7th 2007



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha The Kooks, they are really awesome. I listened to their album the whole way through on the way to soccer training last week, I'd forgotten how good it was. It's great... But Arctic Monkeys are better :p

Thanks for the comments and votes lads. Time for bed now! EDIT: Ha look at that, I'm approved now! This Message Edited On 05.07.07

RandyfromPennywise
May 7th 2007



752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seriously, Naive is like one of the best songs, certainly one of the best of 2006 for my money. It's brilliant. You've probably got their album but tracks 1-7 and 9 = Indie Gold.

EDIT: Haha I'm a private-schooled boy, but I identify with Turner more than with The Kooks dude. This Message Edited On 05.07.07

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
May 7th 2007



862 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, and great review to match Randy. I love THIAC.

Sound
May 7th 2007



3889 Comments


i haven't really checked out the 'Monkeys yet but if this album is as great as 'Brianstorm', i'll sure do it. the drums in the song are awesome.

Ire
May 7th 2007



41754 Comments


Boring for what I've heard.



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