Tim Row reviews the Artic Monkeys’ second album
The Arctic Monkeys’ massive-selling first album Whatever People Say I Am, I’m Not established them as the biggest new thing since Oasis. Unlike Oasis, the Monkeys seemed to have a lot more about them than ripped off Beatles riffs, clichéd lyrics and cocaine habits. The album achieved the clever trick of combining smart language, witty observations and social commentary without ever being pretentious.
Much of the music had a bluesy feel and the lead singer’s distinctive Sheffield accent gave the music an extra raw, almost folky edge. They was a refreshing contrast to the formulaic, clichéd output of most commercial Britpop bands. Even the number one single that made them famous, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, had a special character that went beyond just being cheeky. The band’s popularity was based on their ability to appeal to the thinking Saturday night reveller.
Unfortunately with their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, the band seem to have sacrificed much of what made the first album so memorable and popular. There’s plenty of stompy tunes, but the lyrics are less sharp and most songs give the impression of something that has been put together in a rush in order to capitalise on the band’s current popularity. Such is the nature of pop music.
Whereas genuinely alternative bands such as The Smiths and Radiohead have sacrificed making any real breakthrough in the charts in order to produce constantly interesting and intelligent music, the Arctic Monkeys have decided to seize a gap in the Britpop market for a northern band with “attitude”. Good luck to them, but if you’re looking for something truly challenging, listening to Favourite Worst Nightmare will leave you feeling disappointed.