All you need to do is look at my last.fm listens over the past year to know what my top record of the year is. The Arctic Monkeys took me by storm in late 2005, when I found them on the Internet. I couldn’t wait for their debut record, bought the UK version when it came out, and have been hooked on them since. I put their EP, Who The F**k Are The Arctic Monkeys, on this list as well and in some ways I prefer that record, but its only an EP, and this record, Whatever People Say I Am, is such a tour d’ force, that it deserves to be number one anyway.
A lot of people here in the US don’t get the Arctic Monkeys. I get comments on this blog that my picks are generally solid, but “why the obsession with the Arctic Monkeys?”
The Arctic Monkeys bring everything a great rock band needs to have; a pounding drum and bass beat, twin guitars which produce riff after riff after riff, and a great front man, Alex Turner, who can really sing and write great songs. There are Arctic Monkeys songs where you get three or four killer riffs in the first 30 seconds. I love that.
But if I had to pick just one thing about the Arctic Monkeys, it would be the lyrics. Alex Turner is what you’d get if you mixed Bob Dylan and Mike Skinner. He’s a poet with a street sensibility. His songs are about real things that happen to him and his friends, but the way he tells the story, the way he delivers the line, it’s just so good.
Everyone’s heard the single You Must Look Good On The Dancefloor. It’s a great song for sure. But there are so many better songs on this record, When The Sun Goes Down (Scummy Man), Mardy Bum, A Certain Romance, Fake Tales Of San Francisco, From The Ritz To The Rubble, Riot Van, Still Take You Home, Vampires, Red Light. I basically listed the whole record. It’s killer. It’s the best thing that came out this year and I love it.