Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2006, Domino Records
The View from the Afternoon
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Fake Tales of San Francisco
You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights but You Were Staring Straight at Me
Still Take You Home
Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured
Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But...
When the Sun Goes Down from the Ritz to the Rubble
Indie rockers Arctic Monkeys got together in Sheffield in 2002. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was their massively successful debut album. The fastest selling debut in UK chart history. They were also one of the first bands to gain major popularity online before releasing music through a label.
"The View from the Afternoon" is a powerful, frenetic start that sets the tone for the whole album. This ode to the perils of drunk texting is guaranteed to get you moving. The pace doesn’t let up as they segue into breakout number 1 single "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" which is just a great, fun rock tune. "Fake Tales of San Francisco" slows the pace a little as it tells the story of a local band with delusions of grandeur. "Dancing Shoes" has some cool guitar work as the pace picks back up again. "Riot Van" has a delicacy that belies its title. It’s a welcome respite at the mid-point of the album. "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured", a track that consists of a drunk conversation in the back of a taxi is great because of its familiarity. Any teenager who has been out drinking in any British city will recognise exactly what’s going on here. "Mardy Bum", the classic anthem for every man who has ever tried to placate a woman who simply refuses to be placated remains gentle and beautiful in its description of such a common situation. "When the Sun Goes Down", which became the band’s second number 1 single is another slightly punky slice of life tale about the prostitutes who worked around the studio the band recorded the album in. "From the Ritz to the Rubble" is the most heavily vocal focused song, starting out almost as spoken word. "A Certain Romance" provides a surprisingly gentle ending to a frenetic album.
The Arctic Monkeys’ signature is singer Alex Turner delivering his lyrics as fast as possible in his strong Sheffield accent on every track. This first album has more of a post-punk vibe than their later work along with a lot of rap and hip hop influences in the vocal delivery as well as 1990s Britpop and The Strokes and The Libertines. The album is fast and furious. You have to work to keep up with it but it’s incredibly rewarding because the stories the band are telling are relevant to so many people. It’s brilliantly well made and so many of the songs are incredibly catchy and remain in your head long after you finish listening. It almost veers towards being a concept album, so strong is the theme of young northerners drinking and clubbing. It may be far from this band’s most accomplished work but it’s a fun listen that will take you right back to your youth, wherever you are from.