The Arctic Monkeys storm back into the spotlight with the release of their fifth album, AM. As with each previous album, the British band from Sheffield further experiments with their sound here, resulting in a classic retro-rock collection injected with frontman Alex Turner’s signature wit. As the band’s image matures, so does the sound of their music. With less youthful ranting and more slick wordplay, Turner paints the desperate drunk nights of a hopeless romantic.
However, regardless of the high quality of AM, some Arctic Monkeys fans are at a loss to respond, still dreaming that the band will return to the punk roots they debuted with on their first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not in 2006. On the other hand, AM manages to draw a new group of ears to the band as Turner’s lyrics take you on a trip of lust, heartbreak, and loneliness.
“Do I Wanna Know” leads the album with its heavy drum kicks and aggressive guitar riff, as Turner steals the attention with his baritone voice and clever lyrics. Other gems that stand out from the impressive collection include the fast-paced track “R U Mine” with a sound similar to the Black Keys and “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” with its catchy tune and Dr. Dre-inspired beat. “Arabella” and “Snap Out of It” are the only tracks that drag the quality of the album down, thanks to their mediocre melodies and heavy reliance on recurring falsettos and stale beats.
The 40-minute collection contains its fair share of high-energy, amped-up tunes, the remainder being slow-paced blues tracks that Turner’s voice seems to naturally fit. The Arctic Monkeys have transformed their sound from the original fast-paced, clever rhymes and garage band sound to a harder Americanized rock with catchier lyrics that echo in your mind. On AM, the band also cites influences from artists such as Aaliyah and Dr. Dre, which explains the subtle hint of hip-hop throughout the album.
Whether you’re looking for a “soundtrack to disaster” (as Turner puts it) or a playlist you can sink into, AM is sure to leave you more than satisfied. It’s clear that the Arctic Monkeys have established themselves as artists, and that they aren’t comfortable confining themselves to a specific genre. Instead, they’ll keep experimenting, leaving fans on the edge of their seats to see what’s next. MMMM