Arctic Monkeys
Favourite Worst Nightmare


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
December 3rd, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Less immediate than their debut, Favourite Worst Nightmare is nevertheless a solid follow up to their debut that sees Arctic Monkeys explore new musical ground.

Where do you go when you have just released an album that will go down in the annals of time as being a classic that defined its genre? This is the question that Arctic Monkeys had to answer after the whirlwind success of their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. After succeeding so emphatically with the albums lyrically fuelled post-punk indie-rock aesthetic it was always going to be a difficult task living up to the inevitable media led expectation of an even greater follow up. It was not particularly surprising then that the young quartet decided instead to evolve their ‘trademark’ sound into something a bit different. The challenge in pursuing such a goal is always a risk, but that risk is what makes Favourite Worst Nightmare that much better, and if anything, a more impressive achievement than their debut.

Being their second full length record one could almost say that the Monkeys had been around the block by the time of Favourite Worst Nightmare’s release, such is the nature of the modern music trend-hopper’s need instant gratification. Exploring darker textures and mellower subject matter, Favourite Worst Nightmare sees Alex Turner and company appreciate their world from a more mature perspective while still holding on to their youthful enthusiasm. Indeed the enthusiasm is in full flow from the off, with lead single and album opener Brianstorm sounding vaguely familiar. Similar to previous opener The View From The Afternoon, Brianstorm commences with a pulsating drumroll that bleeds into a frenetic guitar riff before making way for Turner’s characteristic croon. While Brianstorm could have integrated seamlessly into Whatever People Say I Am…’s dynamic spirit, the albums path soon deviates from its successor, with Teddy Picker and D Is For Dangerous gradually slowing the tempo.

What follows is a more melodic development, less dependent on clever lyrics and high tempo, spunky guitars to get its point across. As expected Turner’s infectious voice is still at the core of every track but overall Favourite Worst Nightmare’s is less of a one man show. Unlike on Whatever People Say I Am…, the individual talents of the band members are flaunted less, and yet collectively they seem more engaged. There’s no doubt they’ve grown as a band, playing off of each other effortlessly and collaborating more proficiently. The interplay in the rhythm section in particular is fantastic with B Is For Balaclava and Do Me A Favour seeing drummer Matt Helders and new boy Nick O’Malley in fine form.

Despite this they never quite hit the highs of their debut. The atmosphere, while present over the record as a whole, irritatingly meanders from track to track. If the modest intimacy established in 505 and Only Ones Who Know was allowed to infiltrate the record more thoroughly then perhaps it would be more engrossing but every time a hint of steadiness emerges, it is interrupted by a change in tempo or tone. In other circumstances this might work just fine, but when combined with the clear lack of distinguishable highlights then the jittery stop-start quality contradicts the smooth coherence that is habitually implied.

It’s unfortunate perhaps that however Favourite Worst Nightmare turned out it was always going to be subject to intense scrutiny. Though the overall themes falter in comparison to those of their debut, the murkier timbres arguably suit the band member’s individual styles more comfortably. The added consistency with which this brings means that each track is good but because none of them excel in the way that Still Take You Home and A Certain Romance did on Whatever People Say I Am… the flaws are more identifiable.. Had they taken the time to iron out these flaws this could have been an exceptional record, but youthful impatience saw this released just 15 months after their debut. It’s not perfect, few things in life are, but in the end Favourite Worst Nightmare proves that Alex Turner and company have the skill and vision to dominate their scene for years to come.

Overall 4.0 Excellent



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user ratings (1469)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
December 3rd 2011


7353 Comments


Introducing part 2 of the mutatedfreek has a hardon for Alex Turner series.

Gyromania
December 3rd 2011


15941 Comments


This is why you're one of my favorites, Ross =]

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011


10614 Comments


This was a lovely review. Very well written and very informative. Great job, man. I need to read more of your stuff >: D

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Fugue
December 3rd 2011


7353 Comments


D'aww thanks guys.

bloc
December 3rd 2011


34927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like the last two albums a lot, but I still wish they remained furious like this and the debut.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


31375 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still think this is their best release

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

WhiteNoise
December 3rd 2011


3216 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

LOVE this record, but then again I've loved everything this band has done!

newjunkaesthetic93
December 4th 2011


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is actually my least favorite record of theirs. It has some great songs, but I feel like it's just a more boring version of "Whatever People Say I Am...". I feel like all of their other albums stand out as being fairly unique, while this one is just a reenactment of their debut.

GodL1ke
December 4th 2011


804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review man. love the album as well..perfectly accurate rating.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2011


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review as ever Ross. This is my least favourite album of theirs, though.

minty901
December 4th 2011


2073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Their best album.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2011


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review man, and also great to see some love for the Monkeys around here : )

I agree with a lot of stuff you say here, but I don't think Brianstorm could be as easily integrated in the debut. The harder and more agressive approach sets it apart from the early stuff, even if it is as speedy.

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

Fugue
December 4th 2011


7353 Comments


Cheers to all the people who complemented the review.

@newjunkaesthetic/Ali: I can kind of just about see why this might be some peoples least favourite, it's definitely a halfway house between Whatever People Say I Am... and their last two albums, so I guess you guys might not dig that. I could also list at least two songs off of each of their other albums that I prefer to any song on here (despite the love in 505 gets) but equally, I could name worse tracks off of each other album too.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 4th 2011


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

To me the only truly inspired songs on here are Brianstorm, Fluorescent Adolescent, This House Is A Circus and Old Yellow Bricks. The rest is Arctic Monkeys by numbers. Suck It And See on the other hand has only two or three songs that I don't absoloutly love.

WhiteNoise
December 4th 2011


3216 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

If you were there beware and Do me a Favour have genius lyrics though!

AtavanHalen
December 4th 2011


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol genius

DirEnRefused
December 6th 2011


2190 Comments


this house is a circus ftwww



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