On 9th September 2013, the long awaited fifth studio album by Arctic Monkeys was finally released. The album had already been leaked, adding to the anticipation as reviews appeared describing just how good it was and ‘AM’ did not disappoint.
The album shows just how far four boys from Sheffield have come since releasing ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ in 2005 when they initially burst onto the music scene. They’ve matured as a band in the eight year period; Alex Turner’s song writing ability, which had never been in question, getting smoother and culminating with ‘AM’. This album defines them as a band, they’ve discovered their own identity and aren’t afraid to show it throughout this Mercury Prize nominated album.
With ‘AM’, Arctic Monkeys have managed to release something which seems completely new yet still oozing with everything we love about the band. Make no doubt about it; this album is unmistakeably Arctic Monkeys. Perhaps the songs have a different feel to classics such as ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ but this has made a more complete album and instead of releasing perfect singles, this is arguably the perfect album.
The changes in ‘AM’ aren’t too drastic. Slight changes have been gradual as Arctic Monkeys have progressed with songs like ‘Suck It and See’ in 2011 showing the repertoire of songs the recent Glastonbury headliners possess. This has been continued in the new album with songs such as ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ having a more mellow feeling than the likes of ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ and creating a nice and seemingly natural mix throughout the album.
Additionally, ‘R U Mine?’ appears on an album for the first time having initially been released in 2012 adding a bit of familiarity to the album along with similar sounding ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ These two songs start the album as listeners hear songs they will instantly love before a more diverse range of songs continue throughout the album creating a seemingly effortless flow before climaxing with the ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ which is the perfect ending to the album with its reference to John Cooper Clarke’s poem in the early 1980s of the same name.
Throughout the album there are contributions from Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age returning the favour after Alex Turner appeared on ‘…Like Clockwork’. ‘One For The Road’ and ‘Knee Socks’ have Hommes’ distinctive vocals throughout the tracks and in ‘Knee Socks’ in particular, the song is taken to another level because of this cameo appearance.
If you don’t have this album in your life, get it now. Perhaps this album is just the start of a new chapter in the highly successful career of Arctic Monkeys, since 2005 they’ve become the complete band, expect many more headline slots, and arguably they’ve just released the best album of the year at least. ‘AM’ has made huge statement and has shown that Arctic Monkeys belong at music’s top table. This is just the start of something very special.
By Aaron Brudney