By: Kyle Grim
Despite not having a large American fan base, Arctic Monkeys is one of the largest bands in Britain. “AM” is the quartet’s fifth album and ranks among its finest efforts.
The days of Arctic Monkeys playing up-tempo dance punk are gone. “AM” is filled with mid-tempo tracks with a groove, displaying distinct hip hop influences.
Songs such as “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” and “Arabella” are the most notable.
“Arabella” in particular mixes slow-grind grooves with heavy guitar riffs, creating a whole new sound for Arctic Monkeys, and one that the band will likely continue to explore in the future.
Arctic Monkeys also uses some prominent piano lines, most evident in “No. 1 Party Anthem” and “Snap Out of It.”
Arctic Monkeys’ greatest strength has always been the lyrics of lead singer, Alex Turner.
Much like the music, his lyric writing has evolved significantly from their early days.
Turner is no longer the master of observation, instead writing deeply personal songs, mostly about love and heartbreak.
The highlight of the album is “R U Mine?” which is a perfect mixture of old and new. It displays Arctic Monkeys’ early trends of up-tempo rock with words that come at you faster than your brain can process.
But this song also has the darker guitar tones and heavier riffs that their current music reflects, making it a perfect hybrid of old and new.
“AM” is the natural extension of Arctic Monkeys’ signature sound. It is the sound of the band becoming mature songwriters, growing into a sound that will be uniquely theirs.
It is becoming bold, confident and even more creative. The band has already made four of the best albums of the 21st century and it has just added a fifth.
We have yet to see the best from them. Album of the year? Almost certainly.