Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys

Released January 23, 2006, this debut album surpassed Elastica to become the fastest-selling album in the UK and remains the fastest selling debut by a band in the UK. Cited as one of the best rock albums of its decade, it has won countless awards. It has since gone quintuple-platinum.

Jason: I am going to get right to it. I did not like this album. Every song sounds the same to me.

Brad: Have you ever listened to them before?

Jason: I don’t think so. I am aware of them but I couldn’t tell you a song. I went and listened to a few songs on other albums and felt the same. 

Brad: How many times did you listen to this one?

Jason: My usual 5 times and I have them on right now.

Brad: Hmmm okay. I like them a lot. Their songs do sound somewhat similar on this album but I like the energy of it all.

Jason: You have seen them live, I assume.

Brad: Yeah, I’ve seen them 4 or 5 times. The first time I saw them was at Metro when this album first came out. They blew up pretty quick. So they haven’t played small venues since. I’ve seen them play Lollapalooza 3 or 4 times. They are a great band for festivals. 

Jason: Why do you think they struck a chord with people? They are hugely popular, especially in the UK. Every album of theirs have gone to #1 over there. What are they tapping into? 

Brad: I think the theme of this album is about nightlife and going out with friends.

Jason: Is it? But why Arctic Monkeys and not some other band that sounds similar? They remind me of The White Stripes, The Strokes. I would put them all in the same category.

Brad: And all three of those bands are great. It is hard to explain it to you if you just don’t like that sound.

Jason: Okay, sure, but you aren’t answering my question. Why do you think they hit big when they did? I am not criticizing, I am curious if it was a new sound or if they are doing something different with this album? I mean, they hit big time very quickly.

Brad: I don’t know. I just think this debut album had an energy that was appealing to many people. Not only young rock music lovers but also the older crowd raised on classic rock. 

Jason: That’s fair. They have a good rock sound. As I mentioned before I decided to listen to a few other albums and I like the album AM better than this one. It feels more mature than WPSIA,TWIN (I don’t feel like typing it all out.)

Brad: AM was their most successful album in the U.S. I think all of their albums are consistently good.

Jason: AM is a little more “popular” sounding and I recognize the song “Why’d Do Only Call Me When You’re High?”. But back to this album, I do like the song “Mardy Bum”.

Brad: I think that might be my favorite on this album .

Jason: This album does have a high, raw energy. It feels like a new, young band. Even though I don’t love it I think it’s a pretty tight for a debut.

Brad: I agree. Another one of my favorites from this album is the closing track “A Certain Romance”. Also, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” is one of those songs that gets covered by some really unlikely artists like Sugababes or Tom Jones. I kind of love when that happens.

Jason: That’s interesting. I like when artists appreciate a song by another artist outside of their genre. Like Lana Del Rey recently covering that Sum 41 song or whatever it was, that I like.

Brad: Ha. You mean her cover of Sublime’s “Doin’ Time”.

Jason: Yes. I knew it was some has-been 90’s band. So, What are you grading Arctic Monkey’s “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I Am Not”?

Brad: I give it a solid B.

Jason: I will give it a C but I also want to say that people should then go and listen to their album AM and see the evolution of their sound from a raw, neophyte rock band to a more mature style and compare the two. One last thing, I feel the scratch off for this should have been a shivering monkey with earmuffs, not a cigarette. Lame

Brad: I disagree. I hate when the scratch off is a literal translation of a band name. This one is a more subtle nod to the album artwork with the guy’s cigarette sticking out of his mouth.

Jason: Oh alright, my idea would’ve been cuter though.

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

Cold Monkey clip art/ Courtesy of a google search by me.

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  1. Pingback: 100 Albums Bucket List | Jason S Steele

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