Arctic Monkeys are a hugely successful indie rock band hailing from Sheffield. The band is composed of Alex Turner (lead vocals and guitar), Jamie Cook (guitar), Nick O'Malley (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Matt Helders (drums and backing vocals). The band was formed when Turner and Cook got guitars for Christmas while at school and proceeded to begin practicing before recruiting Helders and their original bassist, Andy Nicholson. They were the first band to ever become really successful through the internet, as they handed out free demos of their songs to fans at gigs, who then uploaded them to social networking sites (more specifically, MySpace
), leading to the band generating a huge fan following without even realising it
Eschewing various big-name record labels such as EMI, the band instead signed on to indie label Domino Records and recorded their first LP Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
in 2006. The album went straight into the charts at #1 and, more impressively, became the fastest-selling debut album in UK history, replacing Kula Shaker's K
’ Definitely Maybe
. This propelled the band into almost instant stardom and put them into media frenzy as they became renowned for their down-to-earth lyrics about teenage life in Sheffield.
Not wanting to be designated as a One-Hit Wonder
, they followed up with the hard, fast sounds of Favourite Worst Nightmare
in 2007. FWN
was more mature, and received extremely positive reviews
, even though most agreed that ''Whatever People Say I Am..." was a Tough Act to Follow
They took a legendarily short
hiatus in which Alex Turner embarked on his side project The Last Shadow Puppets
with Miles Kane, who had been a featured guitarist on 505
from Favourite Worst Nightmare
. The band released their third album - Humbug
- in 2009 - a depart from their original high-energy style to something more psychedelic and dark
as a mix of Nick Cave
and Jimi Hendrix
. It was recorded in California and mostly produced by Josh Homme
. The influence is palpable.
Their fourth album, Suck It And See
, recorded at the now defunct Sound City Studio in Los Angeles, CA, returns to a rock-oriented sound while keeping the psychedelic vibes of the last.
In 2013, they released AM
- seemingly a combination of all of their albums lyrically and technically, but has a much slower, G-Funk inspired sound and Joy Division
, Black Sabbath
, and Velvet Underground
influences (the album art for AM kinda resembles Unknown Pleasures
and Word of God
says the title is a direct reference to the 1985 Velvet Underground release, VU
- Alex Turner - lead vocals, guitar (2002-present)
- Jamie Cook - guitar (2002-present)
- Nick O’Malley - bass, backing vocals (2006-present)
- Matt Helders - drums, backing vocals (2002-present)
- Andy Nicholson - bass guitar (2002–2006)
- Glyn Jones - vocals, rhythm guitar (2002)
- Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)
- Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)
- Humbug (2009)
- Suck It and See (2011)
- AM (2013)
- Five Minutes With Arctic Monkeys (2005)
- Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? (2006)
- iTunes Live: London Festival '11 (2011)
- Beneath the Boardwalk (2004) (a semi-official bootleg collection of demos and the like that was the primary reason for the hype that surrounded the band before the release of "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor")
- Live at the Apollo (2007) (live album)
Tropes used by this band include:
- Audience Participation Song: The first few lines of "When The Sun Goes Down" are traditionally sung by the audience at concerts.
- Pretty Visitors traditionally has the audience waving at the line "All the pretty visitors came and waved their arms..."
- Their concerts put a lot of emphasis on audience participation in general.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts".
- B-Side: Their B-Sides have always been popular, but the most notable case would be "Chun-Li's Spinning Bird Kick" which was nominated for a Grammy.
- Breakup Song: "Love is a Laserquest".
- The Cover Changes The Gender: Averted early on with their cover of "Love Machine" and then more recently with "You Know That I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse and "Katy of a Mission" by Katy B.
- Cover Version: On live concerts they've done quite a few such covers, but the most notable would be their take on The Beatles' "Come Together", performed during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London during the "doves of peace" segment. Their version would peak at 21st on the UK Singles Chart, becoming their highest-placed single since "Crying Lightning".
- Darker and Edgier: Humbug to most fans, since it's a lot slower and more psychedelic than the first two albums.
- Also AM when compared to the latter half of Suck it and See.
- Deranged Animation: The video for "Do I Wanna Know?" starts out minimalistic and surreal and ends up warped and nightmarish towards the end.
- Drunken Song: "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?" from AM.
- Everything's Better With Motorcycles: There was a lot of motorcycle imagery during the "Suck It and See" phase, especially in the eponymous music video. Alex Turner often wore a Triumph Motorcycles t-shirt during live shows, too.
- Fading into the Next Song: "This House Is a Circus" into "If You Were There, Beware" on Favourite Worst Nightmare.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But..."
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Matt is sanguine, Alex is choleric, Jamie is melancholy and Nick is phlegmatic.
- Foreign Cuss Word: When Suck it and See was released in the US, many retailers put a sticker of the title, construing it as sexual innuendo, while in England (where the band come from) it's a saying that means "try it and find out".
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: The theme of "Snap Out Of It".
- Lighter and Softer: Suck It And See, inspired in part by Pop Revival bands like Best Coast.
- L Is for Dyslexia: Subverted by the song Brianstorm. No, it's not meant to be spelled Brainstorm. It helps to look at the lyrics, which apparently serve as a Take That aimed at a particularly memorable fan named "Brian."
- Long Title: Tons. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”, “You Probably Couldn’t See For the Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me”, “Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secure”, “Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But…”, “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”, and "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?" among others.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Suck It and See.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 3 - solid 4 throughout the entire career.
- Going down to 2 on Reckless Serenade, Mad Sounds and I Wanna Be Yours and going up to 5 with Pretty Visitors, Arabella and Red Right Hand.
- Non-Appearing Title: "A Certain Romance", "From the Ritz to the Rubble", "The View From The Afternoon" and "Fluorescent Adolescent".
- Suck it and See was their first album to have a title track.
- Obsession Song: "Do I Wanna Know?", mostly of a mixed flavor.
- Oop North: At the 2006 NME Awards:
- Recycled Lyrics: Intentionally or not, the line “get on your dancing shoes” appears in both “Dancing Shoes” and “All My Own Stunts”.
- Shout-Out: Their logo on AM is very heavily inspired by the famous Black Sabbath logo on the cover of Master of Reality.
- From "Despair In The Departure Lounge":
There might be telly's in the back of the seats in front
But Rodney and Dell
- From "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"
Your name isn't Rio, but I don't care for sand
- Spell My Name with a "The": Inverted. They're not the Arctic Monkeys...
- Stop and Go: Several examples, including "Brianstorm", "If You Were There, Beware", and "The View From The Afternoon".
- Textless Album Cover: AM.
- Title Drop: “D Is For Dangerous” from Favourite Worst Nightmare.
- Title Only Chorus: "I Wanna Be Yours".
- Title Track: "Suck It and See" from Suck It and See.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Used occasionally on Humbug and in spades on Suck It And See. An example from the latter:
“Library pictures of the quickening canoe/the first of its kind to get to the moon”note
- Word of God is that they consider this an artform, as its hard to make something that sounds like nothing actually sound good.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Exactly what their song "Knee Socks" is about.