This week’s artist for our Monday Feature is one of my favorite (or should I say favourite?) bands, Arctic Monkeys. These artists just played at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics right before Paul McCartney, are one of the most popular music acts to come out of the UK in the past few years, and are just awesome. Like all good things, my love for Arctic Monkeys actually started from my love of Harry Potter. When I was 15, I read that Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley for all of you who don’t know) was a fan of Arctic Monkeys, so I decided to check them out, and since then I have been undeniably hooked. The first song I ever heard by them was “Fluorescent Adolescent,” which has a music video featuring an epic gang fight between clowns and non-clowns. It was catchy, clever, simple, but brilliant all at once. Throughout the next year, my drives to school, runs, and every other quiet moment was filled with the music of Arctic Monkeys.
The next summer, Arctic Monkeys announced that they would not only be releasing a new album, but also going on tour in the U.S., including a set at Lollapalooza. As a birthday present (because of my begging), my mom took me and a friend to Chicago to go to Lolla for a day. We completely geeked out and wore hand-made Lolla/Arctic Monkeys t-shirts (I know, pretty bad but we had just turned 17, so that’s my excuse). It honestly was one of the best experiences ever, being there in the middle of the crowd and hearing them live, and of course singing along with pretty much all of their songs. In total, my friend and I have seen them in concert a total of four times, and it’s been worth it every time. In December of 2009, we actually met 3/4 of Arctic Monkeys (sans Matt Helders, the drummer, much to the disappointment of my friend) after their show at the Rivera Theatre in Chicago, which was pretty fantastic.
There are so many things that I love about the music of Arctic Monkeys. One, the originality of their sound, and how it changes from album to album. Their first studio album, Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not was released in 2006, and has a Northern England meets the Strokes sound to them, but with their own twist. That sound developed as their lives changed with their fame in their next album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, and continued to change up to this day without completely losing their Sheffield roots. Two, the lyrics of their songs are interesting, relatable, and witty. Each song is basically an excerpt of a day in the life of Alex Turner, making references to unrequited love in songs like “No Buses,” uncertainty of the future/dismal levels of boredom in “A Certain Romance,” drunken friends and newly discovered night-life shenanigans in “Riot Van,” and many more common themes to the life of a 16-25 year old.
As long as Arctic Monkeys keep making music, I will keep listening. They are one of the first bands that really got me into music, which is a big part of my life now. They may have started out as a super-hyped band, who broke records when they were barely 20 years old, but they did not burn out and end up on Celebrity Rehab like a child-starlet. Instead they proved they deserved their recognition by continuing to make great music six years after their debut album, and also this really awesome single released earlier this year, “RU Mine.”