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Album Reviews

Arctic Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare

By Arun Kale | May 7, 2007

Split Magazine Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst NightmareWhen the Arctic Monkeys’ debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ was released in 2006, they were touted as the new saviours of Brit rock (there seem to have been a lot of these) and the best band to hail from the UK since the Smiths and Oasis. The fastest selling debut album (in the UK) of all time, some sections of the media even went so far as to call ‘Whatever People Say …’ the best British album ever. To follow up something like that can never be easy — a lot of bands that have been hyped to the sky after their debut have fallen to the Curse of the Sophomore Album (Jet, any one?), but the Monkeys’ latest offering is a resounding fuck you to cynics everywhere.

‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ starts off with the bass-and-drum stampede of lead single “Brianstorm”, a song inspired by a smooth-talking stranger the band came across backstage while touring Japan; an ‘unforecasted storm’. The initial drum roar gives way to a rather funky riff, and strangely enough, the song sounds like an extremely speeded up, extremely cool soundtrack to an old detective novel. What’s even stranger is that the album cover looks like it might just be the cover of that same novel.

The song sets the listener up nicely for the rest of the album, and just when you think that there’s no way the rest of the album could possibly match up, you’re very pleasantly surprised. “Teddy Pickers”, a song that mocks the music industry as it stands today (‘The kids all dream of making it, whatever that means’) and the fast-paced “D is for Dangerous” are in the same mould as the lead single and embody the band’s typical British swagger. However, the album starts to lose a lot of that same swagger soon after the strut of “Fluorescent Adolescent”, and doesn’t quite succeed in recovering it. With the exception of “This House is a Circus”, the second half of the album is not nearly as memorable as its first.

When it’s over, you can’t help but feel like this is one half of what could have been a truly great album. It’s somewhat like listening to the first half of ‘Master of Puppets’ followed by the second half of ‘Reload’. Even though it doesn’t deliver quite as much as it promises to, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ is still one of the best albums I’ve listened to in a long time. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem to be enough.

Comments

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  1. May 7, 2007, 10:05 pm Dean

    I pretty much agree with your review. There are a few songs that really rock on this album, yet there are others that (as much as I hate to say it) are just OK. The faster songs are the best but even some of the slower songs on this album are gold; however, this one really lacks the punch that drove the first album through to my heart. It’s a good album overall, but it just doesn’t reach the greatness of their first. If you can imagine a soundtrack performed by the Arctic Monkeys for Hawaii 5-0, this is it; unfortunately, it’s not as good as you want it to be. Here’s hoping that their third album kicks us in the nuts like their first one did.

    @Arun – I loved your Metallica comparison. lol :)

  2. May 19, 2007, 11:42 pm Rakesh

    This album is not that great, instead they could have just released brianstorm as a single and could have forgotten the rest of the album.

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