Arctic Monkeys – ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ | Classic Record Review

arctic monkeys debut album cover

How does the Arctic Monkeys debut Album stand up now?


Context

It was 23rd January 2006, four lads from Sheffield had just released their first album‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ after their phenomenal success of single, ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’. The four piece rock band consisting of Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley and Matt Helders and Nick O’Malley (after replacing Andy Nicholson in 2006) formed in 2002 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. This is of course the Arctic Monkeys. The album was a major hit, quickly becoming the fastest selling debut album in British history and resulted in them headlining Glastonbury later that year and them winning many major awards including the Mercury Prize Award and a Brit Award for best album. Many people would argue that this is the best Arctic Monkeys album due to the forty – one minutes of continuous energy and rock and roll, which really set the tone for the band.

The Album

Opening the album, we have ‘The View From The Afternoon’ which introduces us to the classic rock noise the lads regularly bring, reminding us of house parties and everyone feeling pure joy when singing along. Alex Turner said the tune is about‘anticipating the evening, finding comfort in familiarity and the fact that you know you’re bound to send a daft message or something before the sun comes up’ which many can relate to. Throughout the album, there is many relatable songs for teens and adults including ‘Mardy Bum’ with lots of references to love and youth. I would say ‘Mardy Bum’ is my favourite song on this album due to how much of a classic it is and the obvious sound of sarcasm and wit in Turner’s lyrics and voice on struggles in a relationship and arguments. There is something very innocent about this album with Alex’s higher pitched voice compared to now and the simpler composition of the music including chants and a lot of drum solos.

The most popular song on this album has got to be ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ which is clear to see why due to the energy raising intro that you can’t help but move along to and enjoy the rising tempo and strong drum beat. This was the song that made them a household name and gave them a huge fan base. Overall, the best way to describe this song is fun due to the melody influencing you to just get up and dance and have a good time with your friends. I always have felt that there are similarities of this song in ‘Dancing Shoes’ due to pulsating vibe both songs give off and the classic rock sound of drums and chants.

One of the slower songs on the album is‘Riot Van’ which is about a misbehaving youth winding the police up until he eventually gets arrested and must face this fact. The soft vocals of Turner are perfect for this song as every word seems meaningful. Although this is one of the lesser known songs as it is rarely played live, I believe it is still an excellent example of Alex Turner’s song writing and music making ability.

Verdict

Overall, I would give this album a 9/10 due to the phenomenal success it had and how the songs are truly classics which are still being enjoyed over thirteen years later. Since this sensational album, the band have released five other number 1 albums called ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, ‘Humbug’, ‘Suck It And See’, ‘AM’ and ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel And Casino’ but I’m sure you’ve already heard of all of them. Personally, I am currently waiting for the bands 7th album.

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