Arctic Monkeys
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What...


3.5
great

Review

by SigismundFreudian USER (15 Reviews)
February 21st, 2012 | 24 replies | 2,680 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "In 5 years will it be; "Who the fuck are Arctic Monkeys?"

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Surrealistic Pillow and Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols- Everyone knows these 2 albums. They're classics. Now, these are two very different albums regarding their approach to music, but they both reflect the spirit of a growing generation within their respective time and place. It's tough to say whether these these two albums were a product of their environment, or a product that influenced their environment. Whether we're talking about the hippies of San Francisco, or the Punk movement of the 70's, these albums became anthems to the young listeners that supported their respective movements.

Now, here we are in a new millennium. And a new movement was slowly growing throughout the world, but it was being defined in New York and several European cities. Only this movement was really more of an amalgamation of past trends. The Post-Punk Revival movement grew from the underground and began to take over the Rock and Roll mainstream, with acts like The Strokes and The Libertines leading the pack. And like Surrealistic Pillow and Never Mind The Bollocks, several Post-Punk bands began trying to write albums that captured the spirit of this new generation. The Stroke's Is This It, is perhaps the anthem of the Post-Punk/Indie scene as the music, and the band members themselves, hold true to everything that defines the Post-Punk Revival trend ranging from their retro fashion sense and apathetic attitudes, to their 70's Garage rock sound.

As the Post-Punk scene grew larger, countless acts began getting record deals by incorporating similar recipes of catchy arrangements of power chords, loud drumming, and lyrics inspired by the awkward, and at times strenuous experiences that one encounters as a young adult. To be honest, Arctic Monkeys came a little late to the scene, but yet they still managed to garner attention. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, uses the same musical formula that I had already mentioned, and doesn't really bring anything new to the Post-Punk scene. But nevertheless, the album became a huge commercial success and grew to be widely popular. But why? How could an album whose music hardly separates it from the other bands of it's genre become so popular? Well, it's music related to it's fan base. It's such an amazing sensation when we discover music that immediately has an impact on us and It's even more enriching when we discover an artist whose music is something we can relate to. Whose lyrics seem to reflect our own experiences as if they were peaking through a window into our lives and writing lyrics about what they saw.

Alex Turner has such a gift for translating all of the colorful experiences of youth into lyrical poetry. The sexual and social awkwardness, relationships, personal insecurities, and the uncertainties of the future that are constantly waving over our heads; this album could be considered the soundtrack to the life of any teenager. This is the reason why this album became so popular, because it captured the habits of a new generation. "The View From The Afternoon", for example, tells the story of young teenagers who are looking to get drunk and have sex, while being driven by their yearning for excitement. The rebellious nature of youth fuels the energy of the album, while it's loud and aggressive sound represents the frustration behind the conscious awareness of that little freedom one has as a teenager. Songs like "Dancing Shoes" and "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor", perfectly capture that overwhelming yearn for a good time. Teenagers are bedeviled by a constant feeling of boredom, which often possesses them to engage in mischievous acts like the ones described in "Riot Van".

As for the instrumental compositions, this album contains nothing more than frantic pop-songs, but the band does display a conscious dexterity that is beyond their years. The string arrangements are definitely the main strength behind the music of the Arctic Monkeys. The guitar sound in "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured" and "Dancing Shoes", for example, are relentlessly seductive. Another interesting observation one may find is that there are subtle hints of musical styles the band would explore in their latter releases. The soft guitar ballad, "Riot Van", contains some elements of Psychedelia in it's latter portion. While "Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But.." displays some elements of borderline Prog-Rock effects in it's midsection that give out a menacing atmosphere, reflecting the musical approach of Humbug.

This is a solid debut and an introduction to a band with immense talent, but there isn't much here for anyone of an adult mentality. There is very little diversity in the lyrics. If Alex Turner isn't describing a narrator who is plotting out their sexual advances for the night, then he's describing a group of teenagers scavenging through the city looking for nightclubs that will accept their fake ID's. There's very little appeal here for older audiences, but I suppose the band cannot be blamed for the lack of variety in the topics discussed in their lyrics. The band that is being introduced here are in their late teens, so it's not surprising that the music will reflect their age. But don't get me wrong, the lyrics are articulated quite well. Their melodious arrangements are often infectiously catchy, the vocal deliveries in "You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights But You Were Staring Straight at Me" come directly to mind.

Earlier I mentioned albums like Surrealistic Pillow and Never Mind The Bollocks, and how they're considered classics because they captured the nature of the young audiences that associated themselves within their respective scenes. Now, is "Whatever People Say" a classic? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some consider this album to be the voice of Britain's youth, others see it as an overrated album that received more hype than it deserved. Quite frankly, I suppose my own opinions on this album are conflicted. Though I can see why many have fallen in love with the album, I can also see why others don't particularly care for it. I, being an Arctic Monkeys fan, rarely find myself coming back to this album preferring the more mature content of their latter releases. But nevertheless, it's a solid album from a band that would one day grow to become one of the most respected acts in modern music.



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user ratings (2137)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Island
February 20th 2012



577 Comments


summary grammar burn

wakeupdead
February 20th 2012



2208 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Surrealistic Pillow and Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols- Everyone knows these 2 albums."

Surrealistic Pillow? lol

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2012



10042 Comments


Dude, good reviews and all but seeing like 3 of your reviews on the front page every time I log on is getting annoying. Space your reviews out, wait until the last one's off the front page. That way other people can have time for their reviews to be seen

SigismundFreudian
February 21st 2012



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ wakeupdead
Surrealistic Pillow- by Jefferson Airplane (They wrote the song "White Rabbit"). Really important album in the San Francisco Hippie scene of the laye 60's.
... I dont know if you already knew that, but you did ask about the album.

SigismundFreudian
February 21st 2012



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ OmahaStylee94
You're absolutely right, i'll calm down on the uploads.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2012



31050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agree with rating

Digging: Marcel Dettmann - Fabric 77

WhiteNoise
February 21st 2012



3085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Surrealistic Pillow" uhhh.... who?

Also why isn't this a 5?

SigismundFreudian
February 21st 2012



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ WhiteNoise
Surrealistic Pillow- by Jefferson Airplane (They wrote the song "White Rabbit"). highly important and defining album for psychedelic rock in the San Francisco Hippie scene of the late 60's.

I dont think Whatever People Say is a 5, it's really nothing more than frantic pop rock songs about being a teenager in England... though it is a great album. but hey, this is just my opinion.

WhiteNoise
February 21st 2012



3085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

haha i'm very biased considering I was 16 at the time of this albums release haha

SigismundFreudian
February 21st 2012



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ WhiteNoise
No worries, it's a decent album, not my favorite by The Monkeys but they always make good music.

WhiteNoise
February 21st 2012



3085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's true, they definitley got better, which record is your favourite? I'm usually tied between this and Humbug, however I kind of love all four equally.

SigismundFreudian
February 21st 2012



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@WhiteNoise
Oh it's Humbug all the way. That was my introduction to Arctic Monkeys, then i heard Suck It And See and Favourite Worst Nightmare....and that was it now theyre one of my favorite bands.

WhiteNoise
February 21st 2012



3085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ahhh that makes sense then. Humbug just blew my mind the way they changed/grew and it's still enjoyable from front to back every time I hear it.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2012



23801 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album kicks ass, specifically "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor"

what a tune

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2012



6390 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Soundtrack to my puberty, right here

Digging: Vessel - Punish, Honey

minty901
February 21st 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

correct rating

xfearbefore
February 21st 2012



1245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good historical review. Would of rated this a bit higher, but yeah, good stuff. If I were British I'd comment on whether this truly defines a generation or not like those earlier albums mentioned. I used to hate this album when it came out because I thought they were just a lame Libertines knock-off, but boy was I wrong, this album is fantastic. Shame their later stuff isn't anywhere near as good.

WhiteNoise
February 21st 2012



3085 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Later stuff isn't as good!? Man, give humbug 10 more listens, it has so much more depth than this.

minty901
February 21st 2012



1978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album lacks variety but is still great fun. favourite worst nightmare is their best album, perhaps followed by humbug. suck it and see sucks

SigismundFreudian
February 22nd 2012



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@xfearbefore
I personally think this is their worst album, Humbug and the others album show higher level of artistry and musical versatility



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