THE ARCTIC MONKEYS-
WHATEVER YOU SAY I AM,
THAT'S WHAT I'M NOT
Catchy. Pop-punk. Teenagers. The "Next Big British Band".
Normally, using those words to describe a band would make me
want to vomit into a plastic grocery bag. But in this case, The Arctic
Monkeys manage to make it all work.
I first heard about the Monkeys from a radio DJ who mentioned
them in passing. He hailed them as the next big thing to invade
the US from England, but in truth I gave the comments no
However, one day while driving to work I heard a particular song
on the radio. It had all the elements of greatness- it was well
written lyrically, exceptionally clever actually, and it contained
enough edge to lay outside the lines of the black hole of pop music.
I knew it was the Monkeys before the station could confirm my
excitement. That night, I went and spent the 12 dollars to make the
Monkeys my own.
Now, let me be clear on something. This is not a 'home-run' album
by any stretch of the imagination. There are some tracks that
these guys certainly do sound like a bunch of teenagers whaling on
But Alex Turner manages to write his lyrics with a wisdom that is
well beyond his years. He is insightful and weaves his lyrics together
with clever storytelling and simple rhymes, which work together with
some undeniably great riffs.
Turner has some fun in the song "Mardy Bum", about a relationship gone bad.
now then Mardy Bum, i've seen your frown and it's like looking down
the barrel of a gun, and it goes off,
and out come all these words, oh there's a very pleasant side to you,
a side I much prefer
In "Riot Van" Turner tells his tale of a run in with the police, while in
"When the Sun Goes Down" he tells of prostitution in the streets of his
Turner and the Monkeys do sing about some heavy topics, but they
manage to tell the story in a light-hearted way, using their talents to
make their debut album more than worth the 12 bones it takes to pick it up.
Are the monkeys the next big thing to come out of England? To be
frank, I don't care, because it's summer and this album is fun, with tracks
to take us through the good times like "I bet you look good on the dance
floor" and "Red Light indicates doors are secured".
My suggestion? Pick the Arctic Monkeys debut album "Whatever You
Say I Am, That's What I'm Not", and throw it on while you're hanging out
with friends, or driving to work on a nice day. It'll make everything seem
a little easier.