By Kerlern Rae Tuitt
The Arctic Monkeys have come a long way since releasing their first studio album, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” back in 2006. Their youthfulness was potent with their garage band sound. But their fifth and newest album, “AM,” released Sept. 10, showcases the band’s maturity in a more relaxed style.
The album has been well received—it has sold over 157,000 copies and was recognized as the second fastest-selling album of 2013 year according to The Official Charts Company.
“AM” also debuted as the number one on British charts, making it the band’s “fifth consecutive studio album” to do so. The Arctic Monkeys, who are signed to the Domino Records label, are the only independent group in Britain’s music chart history to accomplish this achievement.
After listening to the album straight through, it certainly didn’t strike me as their best work. But the thing about Arctic Monkeys’ tunes is that your opinion of each song changes with each listen, as do your favorites.
When I first heard their third album, “Humbug,” I thought it was terrible, but it’s easily my favorite album today. Despite the songs being four years old, I still get cravings for tracks like “My Propeller” and “Secret Door.”
The first few songs on “AM,” on first listen, seemed indistinguishable and very similar. “Do I Wanna Know” and “One For The Road” have the same foot stomping beat at some parts. But after listening again on a computer, proper speakers and then with headphones, the unique difference of each song can be easily recognized.
The first few songs give Nick O’Malley the spotlight, being very bass heavy. Matt Helder doesn’t miss a beat on the drums, and Jaime Cook strums fast and slow as the tempo changes with each song. Lead singer Alex Turner’s voice is as fluid as it has always been.
With “AM,” the music really picked up once the tempo slowed down—”No. 1 Party Anthem” is a dreamy pleasantry. I imagine the video showcasing two wallflowers at a prom as they escape the reflections of a disco ball in order to dance outdoors under the stars, drowsy with love the entire time.
“Mad Sounds” follows up with a slow and steady tambourine. It sounds like a 70s’ tune, with a simple drum beat and church organs.
“Knee Socks” was replayed significantly more than the others after listening to the entire album.
The Arctic Monkeys are a talented lot, and “AM” is a wonderful addition to the music world.
But the best thing about the band is that they sound great live—sometimes even better than their recordings. They’re still on tour for 2013. Catch them this week in Atlanta and Chicago.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5 Stars
Essential Tracks: “Do I Wanna Know?,” “No. 1 Party Anthem,” “Knee Socks,” “Fireside,” “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”