Every now and then, a rock band takes the next step in their careers, going from a cult indie rock band into a massive global force. These types of moments stand out and when you take the time to examine the lyrical make-up of AM along with the music, it's clear that THIS is the moment in the sun for Arctic Monkeys. The band has quickly established themselves as one of the biggest acts in the world, collaborating with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and mastering the pop song structure. But in AM, it's THIS collection of love songs, laments and tales of a night out that will be remembered as the point where 27-year-old Alex Turner and the Arctic Monkeys ceased becoming "just another band" and became one of the biggest bands on the planet; with mass appeal that didn't come at the expense of the quality of their music. Au contraire.
Do I Wanna Know? - Frontman Alex Turner shows us his vulnerable side on the album's opening track. We'll see throughout the album, how he's become quite the ladies man, but here he tries to win a girl over with a genuine love cry of "Maybe I'm too busy being yours to fall for somebody new" Regardless of whether she this works on her, it surely endears the listener to him as a lyricist right off the bat and we're pulling for him in all of his ensuing escapades from here on out.
R U Mine? - It doesn't take long for you to come to the realization that this album is crazy good. In fact, on AM's 2nd track (and first single), Turner lets it all out with the quick lipped "I go crazyyyy....cause here isn't where i wanna be!" It's that genuine outpour of emotion and storytelling that we've seen before from Arctic Monkeys...but this has a different energy behind it that's bigger and more emphatic than before.
One For The Road - The first voice we hear is Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh Homme's high pitched chorus "One for the road...Ooh ooh!" settling into the atmosphere of the track. Homme is a longtime supporter and collaborator of the Monkeys and his confident croons leave a lasting impression on the way the listener experiences AM.
Arabella - Is there a better way to assert your badassedness than to sing a song about a Bondgirl-esque lover who wears "a barbarella silver swimsuit"? I cant get the image of Jane Fonda out of my head and Turner's "Arabella" is as exotic as she is fierce.
I Want it All - Let's not lose site of the fact that this is an English band. After all, would an American long for his "sweet rigmarole?" I didn't think so. Turner does his best Josh Homme impression with a higher pitched voice than usual over a sick lead guitar.
No. 1 Party Anthem - The melancholy middle of the album shows Turner's soft side. How despite his womanizing ways, he still needs to hear that one song, or the "No. 1 Party Anthem" to give him the confidence to seal the deal.
Mad Sounds - A tribute to the very songs that speak to us and help us get through the days and nights. If you read into it carefully, "Mad Sounds" is an intro to the very personal 2nd half of the album.
Fireside - No track on the record spoke to me quite like this one. Turner so accurately describes the feeling of uncertainty in a fleeting relationship....Perhaps one that just ended and you're nearing that point where you're ready to move on; everything's ALMOST behind you, or as Turner describes it: "when your fuse is fireside." Then right at that moment, you second guess one last time and you realize how hard it is to come to terms with moving on.
Why'd You Only Call Me When You'e High? - The whimsical nature of hook-ups. Perfectly depicted in the video that starts in a smoky club with 'R U Mine?' fading away in the background as the story begins to unfold:
Snap Out of It - The confidence of an alpha male is his most distinguishing characteristic. The soul vibes that permeate throughout the album rear their head again with the zany bridge to the final chorus "Under a spell you're hypnotized (ooh) / Darling how could you be so blind (snap out of it)"
Knee Socks - Perhaps the album's best song is tucked away just before it ends. Everything about this track is sexy...from the bass drum and simple guitar riff as it opens, to the imagery conjured up by a line like "When you walked around your house wearing my sky blue Lacoste... And your knee socks". And we're bouncing as the images in Alex and Josh Homme's head come together in a parting crescendo.
I Wanna Be Yours - A simple outro filled with clever references like "Let me be your Ford Cortina, I will never rust" And before you go googling, all the Ford Cortina ever did was rust, showing that Turner maintains his wit and sarcasm despite the emotional roller coasters (plural) he sings about on AM.