Recently the Arctic Monkeys released their newest single Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? Fans of the band around the world rejoiced and the song was a definite nod to their new hip hop style that Alex Turner had spoken about in interviews before its release.
While many immediately fell in love with the song (I could count at least 4 covers of it on YouTube the next morning after it came out) the new style of the Arctic Monkeys yet again raised complaints from those who feel they have lost their touch, got cocky and even sold out since Turner got a haircut. But who cares? Why is it that some music fans simply won’t accept it when a band changes and heads in a new direction? Well this is why they’re wrong to judge.
“He doesn’t like my hair. Kill him.” – Definitely not Alex Turner, 2013
First of all, I love the Arctic Monkeys and their new stuff. Its cool, slick, sexy and I can’t wait for their new album AM (released September 9th). I’m not the only who thinks that as millions of folk tuned in to see them tackle the pyramid stage at Glastonbury this summer. Despite this, there are still some who aren’t happy with the Sheffield boys. After their headline slot at glasto, twitter was rife with complaints that Turner had lost his accent and he was trying too hard to be cool. Well thats just silly. The man has been living in America for almost 3 years! Thats 3 years surrounded by Americans speaking with their American accents, I’m sure he can be forgiven if some of the local lingo has rubbed off on him (also, his accent hasn’t even changed that much at all so your arguement is invalid). As for “trying too hard to be cool” his stage presence and demeanour hasn’t changed at all. He’s been making daft little hand gestures and pointing at people in the crowd all his career. Its called showmanship and he’s very good at it, the only difference is now he has slicked back his hair and wears a smart jacket with sunglasses. Maybe the people who are complaining are just too afraid to admit he actually does look really cool.
As for the music. Their sound has, without doubt, changed since their debut album in 2006. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not just oozed energy, you could really tell that this was a young band who were hungry and its impossible to stick on tunes like Dancing Shoes or When the Sun Goes Down without moving or singing along. They even managed to pull off calm and prettier songs like Riot Van without you being bored half to death. But the best thing about this album was that they were ALL great songs. They catapulted the Arctic Monkeys into the spotlight and Turner gained a reputation as one of the best songwriters out there. Then came Favourite Worst Nightmare in 2007. Another great record, the band grew even more popular and it earned them their first headline slot at Glastonbury.
After that they released Humbug.
Dun dun duunnnnnnnn
This is the album that divided Arctic Monkeys fans. It was a risk that received a lot of positive reviews, with magazines focusing on how the band matured on this record saying things like “justifies the hype by shifting its best qualities into different, equally dazzling shapes,”. Which is basically critic speak for “They’ve changed, man”. It was this change that upset some fans with a lot of people regarding it as their worst album. Meaning their risk did backfire for some. But do you really think they care? The album went on to make them a whole lot of money so who cares if a few people left angry comments on YouTube? These few people were then left disappointed again by Suck it and See which was at a similar pace to its predecessor yet still sold by the millions.
Then came R U Mine? A gutsy single released on record store day, filled with powerful guitars, huge drums and the fabulous falsetto talents of Matt Helders. This was much more like their early material. It had an energy to it that we just hadn’t seen from them on the previous two albums and was maybe an attempt by the band to win back the fans they had lost with Humbug.
So why are so many people still whining about the Arctic Monkeys on the internet? Why do they think that just because a band isn’t the same as they were, should mean you can’t like them anymore? Truth is. I don’t know. All I can say is that bands change all the time, its only natural to want to explore every possible sound and exhaust every road you can take because that is the only way to get better at what you do. The Arctic Monkeys are a perfect example of this. In 2007 the youngsters from Sheffield took to the Pyramid stage on their first ever visit to Glastonbury and it was almost as if they were out of their depth. They had the songs and fan base to justify their place up there but they didn’t seem to have the conviction. 6 years later, with a new look and two very different albums under their belt. They absolutely ruled it. They looked like a band with unfinished business. They didn’t just want to prove that they could put on a show to blow away Worthy Farm, but to show all the people who doubted them when they released Humbug that they are, by far, a better band for it.
If you have an opinion you want to add or just think I’m completely wrong about the whole thing. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks for everything, and if you want to check out Amar's new thing it's http://splashofthoughts.com/