Your Best Nightmare

Ok. I know this is going to be late. I didn’t start writing until 10:45 because I had to take a cat nap before I started writing. And then another one after. But without further ado, one of my favorite artists —

Wait, what is this? Another repeat artist??

Album: Favourite Worst Nightmare                                       Artist: Arctic Monkeys


So I’ve talked about the Arctic Monkeys’ rapid rise to fame before, but I’ll leave you with a refresher. Basically, this band is here because of the internet. Their first album went nuts, and over the years they’ve managed to keep their sound and yet always bring something completely new to the table. They started out as these weird looking indie kids and now they’re these clean cut, 50s suave style rockers, but the talent is the same.

AM then
Arctic Monkeys pre-AM
AM now
Arctic Monkeys now

See the difference?

Now last time I wrote about Arctic Monkeys, I wrote about their album AM, which is straight up a masterpiece. People hate on it because of the new image of the Monkeys that came with it, but those people just can’t appreciate a good thing. Favourite Worst Nightmare is totally different from AM, though. In fact, Alexandra and I have had this conversation a few times. Both AM and Favourite Worst Nightmare make the list of top Arctic Monkeys albums in our opinion, so its fitting that we compare the two. You see, if you listened to AM (which you should have and if you haven’t you should NOW) you know that the album is strictly about the lyrics. The instruments compliment and almost spin the words for you as Alex Turner does what he does best, because the lyrics are the song. FWN is not like that. In fact, it’s almost the opposite.

FWN is loud. In fact, you could argue that that was the point. It isn’t about the lyrics, its about the background. But what makes the Arctic Monkeys’ second release so intense is the kind of influences that are apparent throughout the whole album: Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, Sublime, (and as one critic thinks) Red Hot Chili Peppers among many others. I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have picked out the last one on my own, but I totally see where Mark Beaumont is coming from. But what kind of loud you ask? Well, it’s got bass playing that makes the rock gods smile, a very “Strokes” approach to the guitar, and “a 12-armed psychopath” on the drums (another one I got from Mark Beaumont — check out his review here). Whereas AM is about the lyrics, FWN is arguably about the drums. Like Matt Helders just goes nuts, and Nick O’Malley just has to keep up (which he manages quite well).

And those lyrics though. I know I just said that Favourite Worst Nightmare isn’t about the lyrics, but I think the Arctic Monkeys’ lyrics are what they’re known for. I mean Alex Turner is just incredibly clever. He manages to sum up Bowling For Soup’s “1985” in just two lines: “You used to get it in your fishnets/Now you only get it in your nightdress,” found in “Fluorescent Adolescent.” And the album’s opener “Brianstorm,” a go-nuts rock out about some (apparently) creepy guy they met on their adventures is equally as astute. Lines like “And I wonder are you puttin’ us under/Cause we can’t take our eyes off the t-shirt and ties combination/Well see you later, innovator” show just the kind of backhanded way they feel about the guy.

Now, the whole album isn’t loud. There is one ballad (that’s right, I said ballad) found on the album. “Only Ones Who Know” carries a bit of a sad tone and a hint of slide guitar that seems a bit regretful. But there’s just that versatility I mentioned earlier. Their first ballad found on one of their loudest albums. Deceivingly,  “505” opens in a similar way, but turns out to be more of a spy theme than a slow dance.

Regardless of what you find on this album, though, there’s no denying that the Arctic Monkey’s didn’t lose anything on their second album, which is a notable accomplishment for a band. There’s a pretty stark contrast from FWN to where they are now, but they still have the sound that makes the Arctic Monkeys the Arctic Monkeys. I really encourage you to listen to a track or two from both of their albums that I’ve talked about because there is a notable stylistic difference between them, which only makes me love the band more.

Until next week, keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: Brianstorm, D is for Dangerous, Flourscent Adolescent, If You Were There Beware, 505


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