i have a question...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Favourite Worst Nightmare

The young men of Arctic Monkeys are from Sheffield, England, which basically means their accents are so thick, it’s hard to discern the lyrics being sung on their short and sweet album Favourite Worst Nightmare. Still, the catchy, bumping songs are infectious as well as surprisingly mature.

The themes of the album range from bad breakups to random and reckless hookups, which is appropriate for the band made up of four boys under 21. Still, there’s a lot more reflection than one would expect from such youngsters. It’s also a more complicated album in terms of melody and rhythm than their debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

“Brianstorm” is reminiscent of the surfer rock song, Misirlou, with its electric guitar riff and driving drums. (The high hat then has a hard time keeping up with the beat, but we’ll forgive that because the song is so dang much fun.) It seems to be an ode to(or is it a rant against) a bloke named Brian, who hooks up with chicks with little effort and wears t-shirts and ties combinations that they can’t keep their eyes off. Sounds like a cool guy.

There are certain songs that are just primed for a greater venue. I find myself nearly shouting out with the songs when I’m listening on my iPod. I can’t imagine how ridiculously fun a live show may be. “D is for Dangerous” is one of the most satisfying songs, yearning to be sung along to. The instrumental pauses within the guitar and drum beats make me want to scream along with the song.The syncopation of the drums and wooden block in “Balaclava” are like the best beats in funk.

But it’s in the lyrics on this album that the band really impresses me. They’re nearly Sondheimian in their wordiness and internal rhyme and for boys under 21, they’re incredibly poetic and complex. “Only Ones Who Know” is a veritable poem about how the two people involved in a breakup are the only ones who know what’s best for them: “And even if somebody could have shown you the place you wanted, well I'm sure you could have made it that bit better on your own, you are the only ones who know.” Instrumentally, it’s a departure from the rest of the album, which is otherwise so full of electric guitar and solid, 8-count drum beats; this track uses some kind of sliding guitar that sounds like violins.

“Do Me a Favour” is my favorite song on the album. It too is about a bad breakup and begins with “George of the Jungle”-like drums. It starts innocently and even sadly: “Well the morning was complete./There was tears on the steering wheel dripping on the seat,/Several hours or several weeks,/I'd have the cheek to say they're equally as bleak!” (Note the ingenious rhyme of cheek and equally.) It’s a song that then slowly creeps towards an intense and bitter crescendo: “And to tear apart the ties that bind, perhaps fuck off might be too kind, perhaps fuck off might be too kind.”

In my opinion, the lyrics are the star of the rest of the album. I almost stop listening to the music, even though it too is very smart. On “If You Were There, Beware,” the singer sneaks off into an echo, singing “There's a circle of witches, ambitiously vicious they are.” On “Old Yellow Bricks,” the band bumps through these lyrics: “She said I want to sleep in the city that never wakes up,/And revel in nostalgia,/I know I said he wants to sleep in the city that never wakes up but,/Dorothy was right though.” These are the kind of phrases that continue to run through my head, hours after hearing them on the CD. They’re well worth a listen, and the youthful, garage-bandy innocence and spunk of their music is an added bonus.

1 comment:

Rachiewrites said...

Good review, but the iTune samples don't convince me, I'm afraid, which probably comes as no surprise to you.