Review Summary: Perfectly Imperfect
The year is 2006, it’s a cold January evening and Christmas is well and truly over. But for many, this night is far more exciting than Christmas Eve would ever be: in the morning the most anticipated album in years will finally be released; the Arctic Monkey’s debut – an album that hordes of frothy-mouthed teenagers will pick off the shelves faster than you can say “Mardy Bum”. The British music scene is more buzzing than it has been for years, there are new indie bands popping up almost every day, and it’s pretty much all thanks to these four guys from Sheffield.
Fast forward 7 years to a world where music fans are enthusiastically clearing Rihanna’s newest album off the digital shelves, a world where the final actual, non-digital music shop seems sure to disappear and a world where manufactured pop-acts from the X-Factor have had 5 Christmas number ones. No, this isn’t a dystopian future created by a music-hating lunatic. It’s the year 2013.
Even 2006’s wonder kids have begun to betray the British music scene they once ruled, with their newest single Do I Wanna know? sounding more like it was composed in a desert in America than a garage in Sheffield. Oh, wait...
This is why Whatever People Say I Am... is such an important album, for me at least. It’s a time machine, back to when British music was good – but it’s also an escape route.
When this album came out I was 9 years old. It was the first time I properly got excited about music, and every time I listen to the effortless drum fill that kicks off opener The View From The Afternoon, I can escape back to a simple time when I would rush home from school every day so I could listen to the Arctic Monkeys, and when I would listen to my older sister and her friends talk about this “new, cool band from Sheffield” for hours.
No it’s not the prettiest album ever written, or the most technically proficient piece of music - but with this LP I like to think the Arctic Monkeys defined a generation – because they sure as hell defined my childhood.