The Arctic Monkeys – Over the Years
How have the Arctic Monkeys’ albums changed throughout their career?
The Arctic Monkeys are one of the UKs largest bands with all five of their
albums reaching number one in the UK charts, and holding the award for the
fastest selling debut album of British history with 360,000 copies sold in its first
week! As an avid listener since 2009, I have witnessed the release of three of
their five albums; Humbug (2009), Suck It And See (2011) and AM (2013).
There has been an evidential transformation of sound and production over these
five albums, from the raw energetic sound of ‘Whatever People Say That’s
What I’m Not’ to the well-arranged and darker timbre of ‘AM’. I want to
critically evaluate and analyse this change in sound. By comparing their first,
third and fifth album, I will be able to make a fair judgement over time.
Whatever People Say, That’s What I’m Not
On the 23rd of January 2006, Sheffield’s own, the Arctic Monkeys, released
their official debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’.
The album was produced by Jim Abbiss and Alan Smyth. These two had
produced huge albums prior, such as Kasabian’s ‘Kasabian’ (2004) and Pulp’s
‘Separations’ (1992). Instantly, there is an awareness of Jims influence, creating
a huge raw, live sounding album. The first song of ‘Whatever People Say….’ Is
‘The View From The Afternoon’ in which the drums play a huge part in the
song to create a wide and powerful sound. In comparison to this, Kasabian’s
‘Club Foot’ also has a dominance of drums, with the snare drum prevailing as a
mighty beat. This idea of a loud drum accompaniment consists all the way
through Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, and could have been also heavily
influenced by their other foremost producer Alan Smyth, who has a presence in
many similar sounding indie rock bands from Sheffield. These include
‘Milburn’ and ‘Reverend and the Makers’. Both bands, much like Kasabian
have a prominence of drums which is outstanding. Moreover, there is a
correlation in the drum beats, and are all up-tempo rock beats which deeply
depend on the hi-hat.
The whole album of ‘Whatever People Say…’ has a tight drum sound but
incorporates a lot of complexed fills. There is little sign of mixing, without any
evidence of added modulation or effects. This is apparent in the song ‘A certain
Romance’ in which has an intro played solitarily on the low tom. This specific
song was recoded in a chapel, which has given the drums a great natural
reverberation, meaning they don’t have to be mixed which would tamper with
the live sound wanting to be achieved. Additionally, it was all recorded in one
take, as frontman Alex Turner ‘wanted to get the right feel to the song which
describes how he believes things don't have as much meaning as they once did’.
This is evident in the drums as there is no clear symmetric beat in the intro or
the chorus. Despite this, a raw sound was accomplished as the song does not