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Music / Arctic Monkeys

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L - R: Matt Helders, Jamie Cook, Alex Turner, Nick O'Malley.
I bet that you look good on the dance floor,
I don't know if you're looking for romance or...
Don't know what you're looking for,
I said I bet that you look good on the dance floor,
Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984,
Well, from 1984!
— "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"

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 historynote . 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 their debut was a Tough Act to Follow. They then took a legendarily short hiatus in which Alex Turner embarked on his side project The Last Shadow Puppets with Miles Kanenote . The band released their third album - Humbug - in 2009 - a depart from their original high-energy style to something more psychedelic and dark, described as a mix of Nick Cave and Jimi Hendrix. It was recorded in California and mostly produced by Josh Homme.

Their fourth album, Suck It And See, returns to a rock-oriented sound while keeping the psychedelic vibes of the last. In 2013, they released their fifth album, 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 note . Their sixth album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino was released May 11th of 2018. They released their seventh album, The Car, in 2022, which builds upon the sound of Tranquility. Debuting at #2 in their native UK, it marks their first album to not reach #1 over there.

Band members:

  • 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)


  • Five Minutes With Arctic Monkeys (2005)
  • Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? (2006)
  • iTunes Live: London Festival '11 (2011)

Other releases

  • 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)

Do I wanna trope?

  • Album Title Drop: Favourite Worst Nightmare is mentioned in "D Is for Dangerous", and along with the Title Track, The Car is also mentioned in "There'd Better Be a Mirrorball".
  • 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..."
    • In "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor", the audience sings "I wanna bet that you look good—".
    • Their concerts put a lot of emphasis on audience participation in general.
  • Alliterative Title: "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.
  • Break-Up Song: "Love is a Laserquest".
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: The band is pretty known for keeping a low public profile; in interviews, they often try to dispel the idea that they have become international superstars, fearing it might lead to indications that they have "sold out."
  • Changed for the Video: The video for "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" is a live video of the band performing in a TV studio; to keep the live feel authentic, the live audio from the TV studio was also used in the music video.
  • Chick Magnet: Brian, the titular character from "Brianstorm", is described as a particularly successful ladies' man, although Alex compliments him as such in a rather sarcastic manner.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Averted early on with their cover of "Love Machine" and "Baby I'm Yours" 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.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: The band was formed when Alex and Matt (who were both neighbors and childhood friends) met original bassist Andy Nicholson at Stocksbridge High School. Guitarist Jamie Cook and replacement bassist Nick O'Malley also attended Stocksbridge and were friends with the bandmates before joining.
  • 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 an ode aimed at a particularly memorable fan named Brian.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: The Disney prince/woodland nymph/irresistible siren that was Humbug era Alex.
  • 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", "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?", and "The World's First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip", among others.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: Examples include "From The Ritz To The Rubble", "Riot Van", "Dancing Shoes", "Balaclava", "Dangerous Animals", and "One For the Road".
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Suck It and See. The cream-coloured art is supposed to be a nod to The Beatles' The White Album.
    • AM also qualifies, consisting of an alternating-frequency sine wave (colored in white) against a black background.
  • Music Is Politics: Arctic Monkeys have had a reputation in the industry for being very conscious toward their own image, from their choice to sign on to Domino Records rather than a bigger label, to giving interviews which generally lament their fame. They seem to agree with the idea that they have sold out since their music has become so popular and successful, which is why they tend to experiment so much with their following songs.
  • Narrator All Along: "Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts" is about a narrator talking to a friend whose girlfriend left him for a bigger, older, and more romantic guy. The narrator then reveals in the third verse that he was the one who lost his girlfriend, and that he's still bitter about her leaving him.
  • New Sound Album: Humbug surprised many critics in a positive manner when it was released, since it explored many different genres such as Psychedelic Rock and stoner. Suck it and See began the band's recent foray into a more pop rock sound. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is another first for the band, being a concept album rather than a more traditional LP, as well as exhibiting more of a Soft Rock style, having been composed on piano rather than guitar.
  • 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:
    Alex: (regarding Russell Brand) He'll probably make another joke about us being from up north again, 'cause that was funny, wannit?
  • Recycled Lyrics: Intentionally or not, the line “get on your dancing shoes” appears in both “Dancing Shoes” and “All My Own Stunts”.
  • The Rockstar: All of them, obviously. But Alex Turner is especially good at it.
  • Running Gag: Alex calling interviewers by their name, it's worth mentioning that sometimes it's implied that he doesn't even know the interviewer's name and just calls them by a random name.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: The music video for "Snap Out of It", begins with the main character (Stephanie Sigman) in a bikini hoisting herself out of the pool.
  • Shout-Out: Their logo on AM is very heavily inspired by the famous Black Sabbath logo on the cover of Master of Reality. Alex Turner also called the album their "own VU", indicating a reference to the Velvet Underground's compilation album.
    • From "Despair In The Departure Lounge":
    There might be telly's in the back of the seats in front
    But Rodney and Dell won't do
    • From "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"
    Your name isn't Rio, but I don't care for sand
    • Related to the last one, from "Teddy Picker":
    Don't concern us with your bollocks, I don't want your prayer
    Save it for the morning after
    And I've seen him with girls of the night
    And he told Roxanne to put on her red light
    • From "R U Mine?":
    I'm a puppet on a string, Tracy Island
    • From "Star Treatment":
    What do you mean you've never seen Blade Runner?
  • Spelling Song: "Dangerous Animals", where both parts of the title are spelled out in the chorus, and repeating at the end.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Inverted. They're not the Arctic Monkeys. However, sometimes Alex introduces the band with "the".
  • Stop and Go: Several examples, including "Brianstorm", "If You Were There, Beware", and "The View From The Afternoon".
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: “Mardy Bum” is considerably more calm compared to most of their songs.
  • Take That, Critics!: "Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But..."
  • Textless Album Cover: Played straight with The Car, but subverted with AM, as the center of the waveform forms an A and an M together. Other than that, yeah, there's no text.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "I Wanna Be Yours".
  • Title Track: "Suck It and See" and "Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino".
  • Vapor Trail: Done in the Music Video for "Florescent Adolescent".
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Dizzee Rascal in "Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend", the only song to feature prominent guest vocals.
  • 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. Turner even said that he admires John Lennon's ability to make nonsensical lyrics compelling, especially on "I Am the Walrus".