Ally Marcus, having the same initials as this album, naturally reviewed it!
The Arctic Monkeys’ latest album, AM, is a must for any music fan. A graduation from their stuffy, grungy early days,Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, in 2006, the Arctic Monkeys have grown tremendously and developed into their most notable sound so far. AM shows a matured sound lyrically and musically as well as showcases a more confident and seductive lead singer Alex Turner. What sets this album apart from others, however, is that they do not diverge from the edginess that fans have stuck around for. AM will please past followers as well as attracting new admirers with a softer, sometimes-romantic sound that will appeal to a larger audience than the past records were able to.
Lyrically the album is comprised of songs featuring Turner as the sole protagonist, which is somewhat different from previous releases, which focused on partying and…after-partying. Turner’s personal experiences and connections to the lyrics are much more prominent on this record which makes AM a more cohesive album than its predecessors. Also, this creates a more personal relationship between Turner and the audience, an experience that has been clearly lacking. Don’t be scared off if you’ve been an Arctic Monkeys fan for years, though. The album retains the same gritty, sometimes sinister feel that the Arctic Monkeys are own for, while R&B influences are clearly heard in the music and hip-hop influences in the lyrics. The album actually is very lyrically similar to Drake, who the Monkeys have covered in recent live performances. Both Turner and Drake use a series of narratives to explore the evolution of themselves into people they never thought they would be. Rather than using a self-loathing tone, Turner embraces his new self with a confidence that shines through his music.
One of the album’s best tracks is the opening song “Do I Wanna Know?” It begins with a strong, alluring twang of the guitar, gripping the audience and leading them effortlessly into the rest of the album. “No. 1 Party Anthem” is another stand out track. Contrary to what its title may suggest, the song is wistful with a strong sense of longing emanating from the acoustic guitar and piano. It clearly demonstrates Lennon influences in Turner’s writing style.
AM is a solid album and what speaks to fans is not a change in direction, but an affirmation of style and talent. The Arctic Monkeys have done an incredible job refining and maturing their sound. In a world where many bands have a shelf life of sophomore, maybe junior album releases, AM stands out as not only a starlet of fall 2013 releases, but a gem in Arctic Monkeys’ discography. Kudos, guys, good job.