The Arctic Monkeys recently released their fifth studio album, AM, to heavy critical praise, and for good reason; it’s a very solid album. AM marks a slight departure in style from their earlier work as the band continues to evolve from indie dance floor hits to a stripped down, slightly less complex sound that encompasses many sub genres of rock.
The record starts off with “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?,” two up-tempo tracks that feature Alex Turner musing over the choice between the fleeting impulsivity of lustful desire versus a more devout, long lasting relationship: “Are you mine tomorrow, or just mine tonight.” From there, the tempo slows down until it comes to a crawl at the albums halfway point. Here, the band ditches the electric guitars that permeate the beginning of the album in favor of a more acoustic sound that dominates the next several tracks. The ironically titled “No. 1 Party Anthem” features Turner crooning cynically over melodic piano keys and mellow guitar strums about being on the prowl at a club. “Drunken monologues, confused because/ It’s not like I’m falling in love, I just want you to do me no good/ And you look like you could.”
Throughout the final quarter of AM, the pace of the record picks up and returns to more electric/heavier sound. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” features a heavily syncopated beat that has a slight R&B feel to it and is, conceptually, a pretty self-explanatory song. On the catchy “Knee Socks” Turner sings about melting his cold winter blues away by means a sleazy fling, but not wanting to get attached: “When the winter’s in full swing and your dreams just aren’t coming true/ Ain’t it funny what you’ll do?” “I Wanna Be Yours,” the album’s closer, is homage to the John Cooper Clark poem of the same name. Compared to the rest of the record, the lyrics are much more hopeful and almost serve as an answer to the first song (Do I Wanna Know?).
The Arctic Monkeys have created a very well rounded and accomplished rock album with AM, which is arguably their best work to date. While their sound may have changed some, their growth is evident by a greater variety of musical styles and overall cohesiveness as a band. You can check out the videos for “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?” below.