Arctic Monkeys
Humbug


5.0
classic

Review

by StanleyKubrick USER (2 Reviews)
May 1st, 2011 | 28 replies | 4,500 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Josh Homme is the white rabbit that the Arctic Monkeys have followed all the way down to a musical wonderland.

Track 1. “My Propeller” (3:28)
Out of all of the songs in the album, I don’t think this one makes for a good opening track but that does not mean this is not a good song, far from it. The guitars truly shine on this track (Especially the ending solos). Alex Turner and Jaime Cook really did a great job with guitar effects on this album. Especially from the beginning, the guitars create a very smooth and hypnotic sound. Matt Helder’s drumming is also something to notice in this song. It’s a very smooth sounding song instrumentally, the lyrics are a bit strange. The lyrics of the song are apparently about erectile dysfunction or a diminished libido, still it's quite an odd thing for Alex Turner to write about…. I am quite certain that Josh Homme had something to do with the writing process of the lyrics. It just screams Queens Of The Stone Age. My rating: 5/5.

Track 2. “Crying Lightning” (3:43)
This is the first standout from the album, and a fan favorite. This song has a more faster pace than the opening track, and is one of the heaviest in the album. And again, the guitars truly shine once again. Jaime Cook with his trippy guitars effects, Alex performing rhythm guitar and a good solo near the end and Nick O’Malley’s bass-lines are hypnotic. The whole song has a dark and psychedelic “twangy” sound that makes the song truly addicting. My rating: 5/5.

Track 3. “Dangerous Animals” (3:25)
To be honest, this song is “Ok”, at best. It isn’t anything special, but it has some great trippy effects. The bass playing and drumming are also quite good, in fact, for any drummers who are fans of the Arctic Monkey’s, you should check out Matt Helder’s drumming on this one. This is one of those songs you have to listen to a few times to like it, and even then, it isn’t as good as the rest of the songs. My rating: 3/5

Track 4 “Secret Door” (3:44)
This is a great song. Alex’s lyrical writing is actually quite good on this one. The song has an almost “Dream-like” atmosphere that makes it quite catchy. This song is beautifully orchestrated from beginning to end, every member truly shines on this one and is definitely a highlight. My rating: 5/5

Track 5 “Potion Approaching” (3:33)
In my opinion, the intro is a bit awkward but then again, I wouldn’t know how else to started it. This is another heavy one, and like “Dangerous Animals”, it’s one you have to listen to a few times to truly appreciate it. It isn’t a bad song per se, but it isn’t great. The lyrics are also quite strange, some have argued that it describes an LSD trip, which kind of makes sense. It’s actually quite enjoyable after a few listens. My rating: 3/5

Track 6 “Fire and the Thud” (3:50)
“Fire and the Thud”, this is the highlight of the album in my opinion and also my favorite song by the Arctic Monkeys. This is the reason why I bought this album and my introduction to the Arctic Monkeys. The song starts of with a slow guitar intro accompanied by maracas, then enters the trippy effects and echoing vocals and from there it takes off into a pretty slow but smooth psychedelic tempo that is just hypnotizing throughout the whole song and ends on a loud high note. This is definitely one of the “trippiest” songs I have ever heard and if you like to listen to music when you're high, this is one to check out. From beginning to end, this is a psychedelic masterpiece, yes, masterpiece. It’s trippy, it's dark, it's hypnotic, and addicting- like a drug. Everyone is at their very best and there is also a guest singer at the end, Alison Mosshart from The Kills and The Dead Weather. I also like Alex’s singing on this one, I don’t know why, I just do. My rating: 6/5

Track 7 “Cornerstone” (3:18)
This song is completely different from all the other songs on the album, but it’s a catchy little number. It is actually placed very awkwardly in the album, in my opinion. It doesn’t sound anything like its predecessor or the following song because it is actually quite innocent and sweet sounding. Instrumentally it has a poppy sound and has a slight touch of psychdelia. It also features an acoustic guitar playing throughout the song and can easily pass as a ballad. The lyrics are actually what make this song great, it tells the story of a guy that can't get over a girl, and he searches for traces of her but only finds her image in other girls. Alex's poetic sense of story-telling makes this a very beautiful and enjoyable song. My rating: 5/5

Track 8 “Dance Little Liar” (4:44)
This song returns to the dark psychedelic feel of the album, and I think this song would have been a great opening track just because of the way it starts and the overall flow of the song reflects the album’s sound. This is a great song, the bass-line is amazing on this one as well as the trippy effects and the drumming adds a hypnotic beat. It follows the same formula of “Fire and the Thud” of starting of quietly, a slow tempo throughout and ending powerfully, though this one fades out with Matt Helder’s drumming. There’s really nothing else to say about this song, it’s just a really good song. My rating: 5/5

Track 9 “Pretty Visitors” (3:41)
This is the loudest and heaviest song on the album. It has a pretty cool organ intro and it appears throughout the song. It’s has a very surprisingly spastic sound that makes it stand-out from the rest of the songs on the album. It’s very “Bipolar”, going from slow to fast at random and ending slowly as it fades out. I think it’s a very good song, it’s definitely worth a listen. My rating: 5/5

Track 10 “The Jeweller's Hands”
And finally, the denouement. The song has a very slow tempo like most of the songs. The guitars are great on this song, especially the bass-lines. There’s also some pretty cool solos towards the end. He also sings them with a voice that couldn’t be more perfect fitting, the ending verse especially. My Rating: 6/5


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Comments:Add a Comment 
FelixCulpa
May 1st 2011


1240 Comments


Holy wall of text! Paragraphs, my friend!

Kubrick
May 1st 2011


746 Comments


IMPOSTERRRRR

iFghtffyrdmns
May 1st 2011


7047 Comments


will the real slim shady please stand up

Kubrick
May 1st 2011


746 Comments


Standing won't be necessary. This is why god created the join date.

bodiesinflight57
May 1st 2011


869 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2011


9034 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lul

Firestarter
May 1st 2011


277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Brilliant Album

aok
May 1st 2011


4416 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ugh -- 'favourite worst nightmare' is miles ahead of this one for me. first two tracks and pretty visitors are good at best, rest is just meh

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

Polymath
May 1st 2011


3836 Comments


secret door, cornerstone, and dance little liar are my favorites.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2011


10180 Comments


Secret Door's great, and half of Potion Approaching is catchy but I really don't like the rest of this album...

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

aok
May 1st 2011


4416 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

For me there's a harsher tone that began with fwn that didn't exist on whatever people say, but the music became faster paced and edgier, which made for an incredibly balanced and powerful album. Here, the harsh tone is all i hear - the instruments take too much of a backseat and alex turner just sounds disengaged.

I had the pleasure of hearing the arctic monkeys live last year, and they put on a fantastic show, but they were committed to going back to their roots when i heard them only playing a few songs off of Humbug.

I haven't negged in a while, but you pretty much spent the first 10 lines of this review insulting me. It's more than ok to say that this is a polarizing album and that the fanbase was divided -- in fact those are just plain facts. I didn't like DJ Shadow's 'The Outsider' either, so i guess i just hate music? I'll hold off and wait for you to get rid of that rant cause your song descriptions are very good and this is your first review, but there's stating your opinion and then there's going too far...

StanleyKubrick
May 1st 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i'm new and this was my first review, so dont bash me if you find mistakes or do not agree with my rating or opinion. Again, it's just MY opinion.

iFghtffyrdmns
May 1st 2011


7047 Comments


i'm new and this was my first review, so dont bash me if you find mistakes or do not agree with my rating or opinion. Again, it's just MY opinion.

This is Sputnik... you're gonna get bashed, kid.

Kubrick
May 1st 2011


746 Comments


He really wasn't bashing you Stan. He complimented the song descriptions in your review but felt that you started off with a bit of a rant, which isn't really something you want to do if you care to maintain any sense objectivity. It's not as if he insulted you and bashed your writing, he's just saying you went beyond simply expressing your own opinion and downgraded those who feel differently. That's an important point and you probably shouldn't write it off as bashing so quickly.

aok
May 1st 2011


4416 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

^ what he said. also love 'a clockwork orange.' it's my very favorite of your prolific works.

i was a bit angry when i typed that but yea. i would highly recommend you go to your profile, then go to edit my reviews/albums and cut out some of the fluff you started with. some of your descriptions are great even if i disagree with almost everything in them.

AnotherBrick
May 1st 2011


9770 Comments


hmmmm seeing these guys at Lolla but never heard anything by them. This a good starting place?

iFghtffyrdmns
May 1st 2011


7047 Comments


they're very overrated, IMO. If there's another halfway decent band playing at Lolla I would definitely see them instead

Kubrick
May 1st 2011


746 Comments


Well I do very much appreciate that. However there are only two types of Kubrick fans: those who feel 2001: A Space Odyssey is the greatest movie ever made and those who don't. I personally feel (and yes, I do count as my own fan) that 2001 is the pinnacle of cinematic achievement. This is just MY opinion, but if you don't agree you might as well watch the Hangover.


... i realize i was probably a bit harsh there but thats basically what you did in your review.

aok
May 1st 2011


4416 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

You should absolutely see them. They put on a phenomenal show and are 100% suited to sth like lolla.

But this isn't the place to start at all... give 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' (or maybe the debut) a spin. Or sample these tracks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp1fQ51YZMM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXKFXVjFhuU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPVBvGzPTRw

StanleyKubrick
May 1st 2011


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ Kubrick, i had no idea anyone else shared the name and i am sorry but as an aspiring film student, i worship his genius and its nice that others do too.

now.. about this "rant"
I DIDNT MEAN TO UPSET ANYONE. i just stated an actual fact. Now, the part where i said that "change is good and gave my opinion", i even ended it with my opinion..meaning that it's an insignificant thought of mine that some will agree with and some will not. I was surprised how fast people comment on news reviews, its amazing really. If you feel i offended you, i didnt mean too and i will word it differently as to avoid that, but dont take it personally.



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