I can’t explain, but I wanna try
There’s this image of you & I
I’ll admit that I haven’t kept up with the Arctic Monkeys really. I feel like I’ve really listened to nothing since their debut album. But this album got so much praise that I had to check it out and I’m really glad I did. The foursome have the classic Brit-rock sound still, but this album feels pretty dark really. The music isn’t particularly complicated, mainly just a straight-ahead rock sound, and the lyrics are a weak point here in terms of the way they flow. But the tone of the album certainly comes across. This is an album, in many ways, about the dark side of love. The narrator here finds himself prowling a party, wondering if the girl he likes has gone home already; walking down a late-night street, nursing a buzz & leaving messages on his ex’s phone; wanting to somehow make the girl he loves break up with her fiancée. And, you know, things in that vein. The album maintains a real high energy level despite this subject matter and there’s freneticism to some of the songs here. Snap Out of It and R U Mine? both have a crashing, headlong frenzy. The fast pace helps the album out a lot; it’s under forty-five minutes. Though when the album slows down, it works just as well, if not better. No. 1 Party Anthem is perhaps my favorite song and it’s the slowest and most overtly weepy. And the album closes on a strange grace note, the slow, hypnotic groove of I Wanna Be Yours. It’s not bitter or confused like a lot of the other songs on the record and so it takes a minute for you to realize that it’s actually pretty spooky. On this record, dark obsession passes for sweetness. Am I okay with that? Quite a bit more, actually. This high-energy, dark album balances itself perfectly. Never so rocking as to become flippant; never so gloomy as to become dirgelike. It might be a perfect album; if not, it’s damn close. 4 stars.
tl;dr – album pulls off high energy rock with seething darkness to perfection; bitter, sometimes sad, but refreshingly fast-paced and fun at the same time; what a balancing act. 4 stars.