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Music / Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

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"What a scummy man/Give him another chance, he'll try to rob ya if he can..." note 
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Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not is the first studio album by the Britpop band Arctic Monkeys. It was released in 2006, to near universal acclaim, and it became the fastest selling debut album ever by any band in the history of the UKnote . It has since gone quintuple platinum and quickly established the Monkeys as a mainstream Alternative Indie act, though the band more or less eschewed this label with their constant experimentation on later albums such as Humbug and Suck It and See.

Its massive success stems from the fact that their demo album was leaked onto the Internet in 2003 (called Beneath the Boardwalk) and the fans subsequently began widespread file-sharing on websites such as MySpace. The songs "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "When the Sun Goes Down" were both released prior to the album, and both hit number one on the UK Singles chart. The band thus became one of the first to emerge through Internet popularity, and the album became a landmark in the Turn of the Millennium since they won a widespread audience of millennials in a way almost no other band had done before.

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Rolling Stone Magazine named it as the #371th best album of all time, and NME named it as the #19th best album on their list.


Tracklist:

  1. "The View from the Afternoon" (3:38)
  2. "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" (2:53)
  3. "Fake Tales of San Francisco" (2:57)
  4. "Dancing Shoes" (2:21)
  5. "You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights but You Were Staring Straight at Me" (2:10)
  6. "Still Take You Home" (2:53)
  7. "Riot Van" (2:14)
  8. "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured" (2:23)
  9. "Mardy Bum" (2:55)
  10. "Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But..." (4:28)
  11. "When the Sun Goes Down" (3:20)
  12. "From the Ritz to the Rubble" (3:13)
  13. "A Certain Romance" (5:31)

     "When the Sun Goes Down" EP 
  1. "When the Sun Goes Down" (3:20)
  2. "Stickin' to the Floor" (1:18)
  3. "Settle for a Draw" (3:19)
  4. "Seven" (2:10)
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     "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" EP 
  1. "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" (2:53)
  2. "Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts" (2:59)
  3. "Chun-Li's Flying Bird Kick" (instrumental) (4:40)

     "Leave Before the Lights Come On" EP 
  1. "Leave Before the Lights Come On" (3:52)
  2. "Put Your Dukes Up John" (The Little Flames cover) (3:03)
  3. "Baby I'm Yours" (Barbara Lewis cover) (2:32)

     "Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?" EP 
  1. "The View from the Afternoon" (3:38)
  2. "Cigarette Smoker Fiona" (2:56)
  3. "Despair in the Departure Lounge" (3:22)
  4. "No Buses" (3:17)
  5. "Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?" (5:36)

Principal Members:

  • Alex Turner - lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitar, keyboards
  • Jamie Cook - lead & rhythm guitar
  • Andy Nicholson – bass, backing vocals
  • Matt Helders – drums, percussion, backing vocals


"Whatever People Say I Trope, That's What I'm Not":

  • All Love Is Unrequited: "No Buses" is about a one-way relationship and how the love may not actually be that unique:
    Lady, where has your love gone?
    I was looking but can't find it anywhere
    They always offer when there's loads of love around
    But, when you're short of some, it's nowhere to be found
  • All Men Are Perverts: "Dancing Shoes" plays the idea that men are pigs sarcastically toward the end, when the narrator tells a guy to just go up and talk to the girl:
    Get on your dancing shoes
    You sexy little swine
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: In "Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts", where Turner describes a boy being played by a girl before he reveals in the end that he was the boy all along.
  • Bouncer: The narrator gets into a fight with one in "From the Ritz to the Rubble".
  • Break Up Song: "Mardy Bum", which is about the narrator and his girlfriend fighting over minor things, with the narrator pining for the more romantic, simpler times in their relationship despite its impending end.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The video for the single "Leave Before the Lights Come On" is about a girl who attempts to jump off of a building before being saved by man. When he takes her to a cafe afterward, she tries to seduce him, but he maintains that he already has a fiance/wife, but she continues to pursue him. In the end, after he firmly tells her to stop following him around, she goes back to the building, before revealing that the whole suicide act was a ruse all along to win men's attention.
  • Concept Album: Alex Turner maintains that he didn't intend for most of the songs to have a similar theme, but concedes that the album is mostly an introspective reflection about the troubles he caused while partying.
  • Concept Video: "The View from the Afternoon", and "Leave Before the Lights Come On", in which the band doesn't make an appearance (Although Matt Helders, the drummer, does a cameo at the very end).
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: "I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance Floor"
    I bet that you look good on the dance floor
    Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The black-and-white album cover.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: The band actually began to encourage the circulation of their bootlegged material after it began to spread on MySpace and other sites, which led to the debut's massive success.
  • Double Standard: Lampshaded In-Universe in "Settle for a Draw":
    Well you're right it is one set of rules for her
    And then another set for you
    But that's just the way it is I suppose
    And there's nowt you can do
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • "You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights but You Were Staring Straight at Me" is about a guy so desperate to hookup with a girl that when she ignores him, he goes and drinks a few.
    • Also "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured", which is about how the narrator, in his drunken stupor, pretends to be macho while still feeling depressed about the night.
  • Epic Rocking: "A Certain Romance" and "Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But..." both feature long, if contrasting, rock jams. The former is more gentle and tinny while the latter is more intense.
  • Femme Fatale: The girl in "Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts" is one.
    Now you don't know what she's up to you can only assume
    If she's not in the front of the shops then they've gone to his room
    Bet she's gone 'round in her school stuff, bet that’s what he likes
    I know you thought she were different and you thought she were nice
  • Instrumental: "Chun-Li's Flying Bird Kick", which was even nominated for a Grammy Award.
  • In Vino Veritas: Deconstructed in songs such as "From the Ritz to the Rubble", which shows the lack of authenticity in love during drunken nights out and one night stands.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The album title itself is a reference to a line from Alan Sillitoe's novel and film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, which are about a working-class Anti-Hero.
  • Long Title: Most of the songs, as seen above, average about six words per title. The fifth track takes this Up to Eleven (literally) with a fourteen-word long title. Most MP3 versions of the album truncate it.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "Mardy Bum" and "Baby I'm Yours".
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Chun-Li's Flying Bird Kick" begins with Turner saying "Show us your special move!" followed by some laughter.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights But...", "Seven", "Stickin' to the Floor", "Dancing Shoes", "Riot Van", and "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured"
  • Non-Appearing Title: "The View from the Afternoon", "You Probably Couldn't See for the Lights but You Were Staring Straight at Me", "From the Ritz to the Rubble", "A Certain Romance", and "Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But...".
  • One-Woman Song: "Cigarette Smoker Fiona", about a Femme Fatale of that name.
  • Oop North:
    • Alex Turner's strong Sheffield accent is very prominent on this album. Most non-Englanders can't really understand a word that he's saying.
    • Defied In-Universe in "Fake Tales of San Francisco", which is about a guy putting on an American accent while pretending to be from San Francisco. The narrator can easily see through his Paper-Thin Disguise, and can recognize his Sheffield accent.
  • Precision F-Strike: Quite a few, from "Stickin' to the Floor" to "Fake Tales of San Francisco".
  • Questioning Title?: "Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?", which lampshades the fact that the band blew up in popularity thanks to the Internet and file-sharing services.
  • Serenade Your Lover: "Dancing Shoes"
    The only reason that you came
    So what you scared for?
    don't you always do the same
    It's what you there for
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: "I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor":
    Oh there ain't no love no, Montagues or Capulets
    Just banging tunes and DJ sets
  • Silly Love Songs: "Baby I'm Yours", though it is a cover of a classic '60s song.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Chris McClure, a friend of the band, taking a drag from his cigarette on the album cover. The band had to repeatedly stress that the cover wasn't supposed to encourage smoking, but that didn't stop some distributors from removing the cigarette from the cover altogether.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: "Cigarette Smoker Fiona" subverts this, saying that even an attractive girl at a party can't play off her drunkenness with a cigarette in her mouth:
    Cigarette Smoker
    Cigarette smoke doesn't hide
    As well as you think
    And you'd think that it oughta
    Act as the perfect disguise
  • Stop and Go:
    • In the middle of "The View From The Afternoon", before it picks up speed again.
    • Also in "Vampires", where the aforementioned jam stops for a moment before one of the band members screams, "All you people are vampires!" and the song starts up again.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Mardy Bum", "Riot Van", and "A Certain Romance" are all gentle songs amid the more loud and rocking tracks on the rest of the album. "Mardy Bum" is a romantic song, "Riot Van" is a Nostalgia Song, and "A Certain Romance" is a reflective summation about how the narrator should accept his friends.
  • Take a Third Option: "Settle for a Draw", about, well, settling for a compromise within a relationship.
    And lets not fall in the trap of answering back
    I am just a beginner but she'll be the only winner
    That's for sure
    So take the draw, if it's available
  • Three Chords and the Truth: "Riot Van", for the most part, since it is built around a three-chord riff until the guitar solo.
  • Upper-Class Twit:
    • Turner pokes fun at these guys in "Red Light", where he describes a preppy townie chatting up a girl while drinking a Smirnoff, which is a fruity drink light in alcohol content (as opposed to the harder beers that middle-class kids like Turner drink).
    • He continues to mock them in "A Certain Romance", citing their Converses and tacky bottoms they wear to appear hip and cool. However, he appears to vindicate them by the end of the song, saying that despite all their show, they're still his friends and he just can't get angry at them.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: "From the Ritz to the Rubble", "Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured", and "Leave Before the Lights Come On" follow a theme in many Arctic Monkeys songs about being unable to remember or reconcile your actions following an intense night out.

Alternative Title(s): Whatever People Say I Am Thats What I Am Not

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