Review Summary: Living up to the ‘Ype, the Arctic Monkeys debut album bristles with punk rock energy and youthful ignorance. Excuses a few pitfalls, the record runs a tight 40 minutes and rocks every minute of it. The tales of nightlife are well worth the listen
“We’re Arctic Monkeys and this is I bet you look good on the dancefloor”
Dont believe the ‘ype”
Hype is a bitch. Driven by a need to sell advertising to major retailers, music publications such as Spin, NME, and Pitchfork proclaim loudly that a band that happens to “Hot” is the “Saviors of Rock n’ Roll”. Band such as Interpol, The Libertines, and a myriad of generic Garage rock revival bands beginning with “the”, all released amazing debuts, some good second albums, and then fell into obscurity. Enter the most famous example, The Strokes. After Is this it, a major label debut released in 2001 that killed the outdated Post-grunge of the 1990s and brought back rough and tumble rock and roll, certainly the music press actually predicted the Savior of Rock" No, after a good second album and a middling third, The Strokes went into indie royalty but popular obscurity. But that was 2001. Certainly music journalists learned their lesson"
Enter 2005. A young Alex Turner tells the industry to not “not believe the hype”. Driven by MySpace success from their demo album Beneath the Boardwalk, the Arctic Monkeys signed to a young Domino records and recorded their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s what I’m not”. Selling 360,000 copies in its first week, the Arctic Monkeys and, fronted by an awkward, shy, and heavy accented Alex Turner, the hype was definitely believed. Did arctic monkeys save rock n’ roll" No. Was the albums good"
Said in my best Alex Turner, “it was pretty fookin’ good, D’know wat i mean"”
Opening with the perils of Drunk texting an ex way before Drake proved how much of an asshole he was, A View From the Afternoon starts the album off with a bang and never truly lets go. Driven by youthful energy and bottles of cheap liquor, Alex Turner weaves together stories of the nightlife of Sherfield teens and young 20s. As seen in songs like I bet you Look good on the Dancefloor, You Probably Couldn’t See for the Nights, but you were Staring at Me, and From the Ritz to the Rubble, (one thing Alex turner learned to regulate later on in his career was his use of overly long titles) show tales of young drunk average looking people attempting to score a club. Occasionally, the monkeys goes serious, such as When the Sun Goes down, talking about prostitution and how Roxanne can put on her red light. It’s one of the high points of the record and show that Turner can right about things more serious that drunk dials and Dalliances. The closer, A Certain Romance, is the perfect closing track. Summing is the themes of teenage angst and apathy in a 5 minute bouncy indie rock song, it is the best song the Arctic Monkeys ever wrote.
Now, while the album is great, it has its low points. Still take you home feels like a basic punk rock song that Happened to have a clever lyric attached to it. Don’t get me started on the toxic Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong but.... Lacking the creative wit of the rest of the album, it feels like Turner was told by the record label that they needed another song on the record. Thus a song about how people who want to take advantage of them and their young fame is written and thus skipped. In addition, the guitar tones on the record are...raw to say the least. While appropriate for the style, you can tell that Turner and Cook got ProCo rats, turned up the Distortion and volume to ten and left the filter control to zero.
The Arctic Monkeys came out of the gate swinging and wrote one of best debut albums in British rock history. Given the pressure to succeede, the band of young 20 year olds certainly lived up to it. Alex Turner dang about how he wanted to be on the Strokes 12 years after this debut. No Alex. You succeeded and surpassed your idols and it began with them living up to the hype of overly excited music journalist at Spin, NME, and Pitchfork.