Thursday, October 9, 2008


Favourite Worst Nightmare-
Arctic Monkeys
Status-Out as of 2007
Rating-4.5 Feathers

In the height of their success and after touring the world, Arctic Monkeys' bassist Andy Nicholson decided to leave the band due to exhaustion. Nick O’Malley, of Sheffield’s ‘The Dodgems’, became the full time bassist. Together, creating a new darker style, they wrote and recorded ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, the follow up to their debut. ‘Brianstorm’ fires up the album with a frantically heavy bassline and drum line that suck you in immediately. About a guy named Brian, who’s ‘calm, collected, and commanding’, he basically transfixes you with his appearance and mien. This song has just the same effect on you. ‘Teddy Picker’ starts with a simple but effective guitar riff. Alex Turner’s vocals are clearly going through a filter, but it makes the song that much better. With lyrics like ‘Assuming that all things are equal, who'd want to be men of the people when there's people like you?’ shows that he hasn’t lost his lyrical charm. ‘D is for Dangerous’ sounds like a weird dance tune that’s almost completely a departure from their usual style. Featuring alternating vocal duties between Matt and Alex, you learn to love it. Matt Helder’s drumming style, seen especially here, developed a funkier sorta tone than its usual heaviness. ‘Balaclava’ sounds flat out unusual. The way the vocals go and the pumping bassline, it’s one of their darker/heavier songs. Alex screams for the first time, which I thought was interesting. The ending bit with the drums and bass sound like a marching band, which I think is cool. ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ is very poppy. The mixture of a twangy guitar and a guitar lick adds to the overall light feel of it. Though it’s more in tune with the basic pop song, it has an Arctic Monkeys flair to it that makes it great. ‘Only Ones Who Know’ is a break from the heavy into a more dreamlike and airy sound. With echo-y singing and words about Romeo and Juliet, it’s enough to make you go to sleep, in a sort of lullaby way. ‘Do Me Favour’ is so moving. Nick O’Malley’s bassline is dark on it’s own and Alex Turner sounds like he’s going to weep at any moment. The lyrics, seemingly, talk about a bitter break-up. The mood goes from murk to anger. With lines like ‘do me a favour, and ask if you need some help! She said, do me a favour and stop flattering yourself!’ force you to believe they are absolute genius. ‘This House is a Circus’ is less shady than the previous. The higher register vocals are very effective. With surreal experience’s happening to the narrator, he’s ‘struggling with the notion that it's life not film’. Blending with the previous song, ‘If You Were There, Beware’ is extremely creepy. It’s very bizarre sounding and the words too are strange. With powerful guitar interludes, and a flat out weird end bit where the guitar and vocals go through a weird filter, it’s enough to make you think ‘That…was…AWESOME!’. ‘The Bad Thing’ is very light and poppy compared to the previous three. I couldn’t stand it at first, to tell you the truth, but it really grew on me. It talks about a married women cheating on her husband who blames her motives on other factors: ‘She said "its the red wine this time.” But that is no excuse.’ ‘Old Yellow Bricks’ starts with a bass drum and a hard guitar riff. The way Alex sings it creates immense hooks. With Jamie Cook’s eerie guitar lick in the back, it creates an oddness in favour of the last few songs. ‘505’ is a great end to such an experimental album. Featuring Alex on synth and Rascal/Puppet Miles Kane on lead guitar, you know this is going to end the record with a bang. The call and answer between Jamie and Miles is so perfect it’s daunting. If they kept the same tone that ‘Whatever People Say I Am’ had, this work would’ve never came close to the success that they’d previously seen. With more worldly experiences and a slight change of style, they created an album completely different than their first but just as good. When you listen to this, you don’t fully realize that it’s the same loud teenagers because this album is more mature. This is our favourite worst nightmare.
“I don’t think the new stuff will shock people – I don’t think anybody expects us to do the same as the first album but with strings. That’s what bands do a lot of the time, isn’t it? We’re not old enough to do that yet!”-Alex Turner

Video for Fluorescent Adolescent

Arctic Monkeys Official Website
Note: I've come to the conclusion that I will get out at least two reviews and a Friday Thing every week. This is my last Arctic Monkey's review until their third album comes out. I hope you enjoy and thank you for the comments! Also, the formatting is all screwed up for this post and I tried a million times and it won't fix itself so sorry about that.


Arnold Layne said...

My all-time favorite Monkey's song is Fluorescent Adolescent, not to mention it's my all time favorite music video! Their first album was awesome, but they just get better with Favorite Worse Nightmare, and you can really tell they're maturing as a musical group. Glad you got a set schedule for your postings, but I don't notice a change in the format. Awesome stuff!

Double Hawk said...

Arnie: The formatting thing was just with the sentences and leaving large spaces at the end of each line. It's OCD. I wouldn't've been fair if I rated it a five because at first, about a year ago, I was iffy on The Bad Thing and Do Me A Favour, but now I love them so I was being honest. I love the Fluorescent Adolescent video! Man, if it weren't for that, I wouldn't've given them a second chance. (I thought they were weird when I Bet You Look Good came out so I forgot about them, now they are one of my favourite bands!)