Arctic Monkeys “AM” Album Review

The good, the bad, and the truth about Arctic Monkeys AM Album.



Lead singer of Arctic Monkeys, Alex Turner, starting show at “Optimus Alive” in 2014

Sofia McGoey

“For many years, music has been the center of people’s lives. The emotions, the sound, and the euphoric feeling of being surrounded by many different sounds that blend to make a beautiful song captivated everyone and allowed many artists to share their creations with the world. This emotion gave way to many unique musicians being able to share their creativity with the world.

This album changed the sound of rock music and gave light to a softer, yet still powerful, version of the genre.

One of these brilliant artists is the band known as Arctic Monkeys. They are a British rock band that started producing music together at the young age of 16. What began as a group of teenage friends making music together soon became one of the most well-known groups in the UK and a popular group in many other countries. Their arguably most famous album, AM, was released in September 2013. This album changed the sound of rock music and gave light to a softer, yet still powerful, version of the genre. In this review, I will be covering 3 of the album’s best and, in my opinion, worst songs.

The album begins with the track “Do I Wanna Know?”. This song is, to this day, one of their most famous songs. “Do I Wanna Know?” was written by Alex Turner, the lead singer of Arctic Monkeys. The opening guitar riff makes the song suspenseful and sets the mood for what the song grows to be. The lyrics explain how Turner has deep feelings for someone, but he is unsure if the feeling is mutual.

Arctic Monkeys “Humbug” Album

Throughout the song, he repeats the question, “Do I wanna know if this feeling flows both ways?”. He is uncertain of where he stands with this person but does not want to ruin their relationship. The song goes back and forth between his inner debate of clearing up the position that he is in or letting things stay as they are. During the song, the drummer (Matt Helders) and the lead guitarist (Jamie Cook) sing backup vocals in soft falsetto voices. These backups help add to the suspense and lead the song into a louder and more of a “real” rock song.

In the second verse, bassist Nick O’Malley’s bass line accentuates Turner’s vocals and allows his lyrics to stand out to the listener. The traditional rock drum beat throughout the intro and verses adds more suspense. This beat enables the guitar to intensify while the drums stay consistent. What truly makes this song such a big hit is the reliability of the drumbeat. That consistency gives the listener a sense of comfort.

Even though the vibe of the song changes a lot from the verses to the choruses, the drums stay the same, which allows the listener to feel grounded and comfortable with the song while still experiencing new sounds and beats. While this song is not my favorite, it is still a classic song that I, and many others, will always love and enjoy whenever we hear it on the radio.

Arctic Monkeys performing at Roskilde Festival in 2014

The second track of the album, “R U Mine?” is one of 3 songs on this album in which the title is a question. Why Turner did this is not clear, but it is a unique way of forming an album, and it leaves the listener wondering what the answer to the questions are. “R U Mine?” is a complete change in energy from “Do I Wanna Know”. It starts with one singular, loud guitar note that sets the mood for the fast-paced, rock song.

The drum fill, in the beginning, leads up to Turner’s fast-paced vocals. One interesting thing in this song is that Turner starts singing before the guitar starts (except for the opening note). This technique is not seen often in modern music. Usually, the instruments open the song and create a lead-up to the vocals.

Throughout the song, Turner is singing about his desire to be with this person (possibly the same one from “Do I Wanna Know?”). In the song, he states that it is “unfair we’re not somewhere misbehavin’ for days,” which shows his feelings about this person.
The intense guitar line helps present the feeling of urgency that Turner is implying with his lyrics. He has this pressing need to be with the person he is singing about and wants nothing more than to be with them. This song is personally my favorite song on the album because it has a sound that is addicting and leaves you wanting to hear more. The guitar solo fills your ears and allows the song to reach its peak before coming back down to have a back and forth between guitar and bass.

Arctic Monkeys playing at age 17-18

The final track of the album is “I Wanna Be Yours”. In my opinion, the worst song on this album and their worst song in general. The repetitive lyrics rarely change their tempo and stay in the same tone and key throughout most of the song. It has three repeating chords during the verse and then adds two new chords in the chorus. With rarely any change in sound, the song is boring and is no comparison to their other songs.

Despite that, it is still a song that I will listen to from time to time simply because it is an Arctic Monkeys song. Turner’s voice is so unique that I cannot help but listen even if the song is not the best. The lyrics are odd and state that “I wanna be your vacuum cleaner, breathing in your dust,” while this may be viewed as romantic, it is a weird statement, and if someone said that to me, I highly doubt I would find it romantic in any way.

Overall, the album is amazing, and everyone should listen to it (except for “I Wanna Be Yours”). Alex Turner delivers his unique vocals, and the instrumentalists work extremely hard to not only support his vocals but add a new dimension to them. If you enjoy this album, I would highly recommend checking out their “Favourite Worst Nightmare” album and even some of Turner’s solo career albums like “Submarine”.