AM has been out for a little over a month now. I’ve so far listened to the album so much, that anyone who works with me or has been in a car with me probably hates it. It’s how I do; I kill that which I love. To be fair (those people are idiots) AND I anticipated this album like no other.
Early on in 2012 the Arctic Monkeys released a limited edition 7” featuring tracks R U Mine? and Electricity. Tracks that I also burnt to the ground, blame love and all that. Around that same time the Arctic Monkeys made a statement somewhere. Where? I don’t remember, but I do recall that they said they’d be going in a harder direction. I couldn’t wait. If R U Mine? and Electricity were any indication of what harder meant for the Arctic Monkeys I was all fucking for it. With each single toward a release date, my anticipation grew.
AM did not disappoint. It is a bass heavy and beat driven sexed up masterwork. Not every song is my favorite, but every one of them demonstrates why my hardboiled devotion is such that it is. There is growth here. If we were to compare AM to one of the earlier records, there is a marked difference and it’s not so much that it’s a “harder sound” as much as it sounds like professionals making music.
I do mean that in a good way, you can’t be four fucking lads fucking around forever. That’s a good thing, some bands don’t mature so well, you know? I suppose, the best way I can put it, this album sounds like it’s been crafted. I like that. It just feels meticulously, deliberately produced. There’s just so much growth, from album to album a progression of sound. Here, on AM, there is much flexing of bonafide skill.
Matt Helders is excellent on drums, and I look forward to the addition of his voice. He hits the high notes. Alex Turner, also, has never sung or, to my deep satisfaction, written better. Let me tell you, it’s my personal opinion that there is no greater contemporary lyricist in existence at this time. Bitch can turn a motherfuckin’ phrase. Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? is a superb example, a bootycall convo that switches between emitter and reciever resulting in something just goddamn charming.
And a quick word about Josh Homme. The Queens of Stone Age also released an album this year, the extremely excellent …Like Clockwork that features Turner on one track. Homme in turn features on AM’s One for the Road and Knee Socks, and goddamnit if those signature Homme falsettos and hums don’t just fuck you in the heart. If you would like to have your motherfucking life taken away please see them perform Knee Socks.
If I have any negative sentiments, they would be this: five songs in, the album hits a sort of halt. No. 1 Party Anthem and Mad Sounds are what I would call an intermission. Except, that intermission is not quite necessary in the way they can sometimes be. Individually, as stand alones, they are good, fine songs. When we talk about the album, however, they’re an interruption. Admittedly, most of the time when I’m listening AM I skip these two. There’s a pace to this album and they don’t quite match it. But when I do listen through, the album recovers quickly, jumping in to the very excellent Firesounds and galloping to a blazing finale with I Wanna Be Yours.
I mean, I really can’t say enough good things. I’m very happy the Arctic Monkeys continue to make music. I would like some more, please.