The song is a wonderful rant against all those British bands who sing about America
in American accents. You don’t need to do that, the Monkeys say – you’re not from
New York City you’re from Rotherham – get off the bandwagon and sing about something
real; something you know.
And they did more than just offer that advice – they went and showed how it’s done.
Despite its appalling title their 2006 debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s
What I’m Not’ was a masterpiece.
That first album was stuffed full of melody laden pop songs with cutting, insightful,
social commentary on today’s South Yorkshire.
“..they might wear classic Reeboks. Or knackered Converse. Or tracky bottoms tucked
in socks.” (A Certain Romance)
These were not fake tales of San Francisco; they were the (painfully) real stories
of Parson Cross.
Things continued in a similar, quite brilliant, vein with the EP ‘Who the Fuck are
the Arctic Monkeys?’. The standout track here being the shambolic (in a good way)
‘Despair in the Departure Lounge’ which remains the best thing the Monkeys have ever
put out (in the humble opinion of this roundabout).
SO FAR SO GOOD
And then it went wrong.
We should’ve known as soon as we heard ‘Brianstorm’ (Shitstorm more like), the second
full LP (Favourite Worst Nightmare) was dense, turgid, heavy and dull. The Monkeys
had decided to eschew melodies in favour of plodding pseudo-metal dirge.
Ditto ‘Suck it and See’
So the Monkeys have ignored their own (good) advice, began recording in LA, got on
the bandwagon, picked up the handbook and started talking bollocks.
Their last decent record was way back in 2006, yet their fans still love ‘em. Back
when he was good Alex had the perfect cutting explanation for this – to paraphrase:
“Their fans think they’re amazing, so all that’s left is the proof that love’s not
only blind but deaf.”
I’m off now. The drummer, Matt Helders, lives not 200 yards from this very roundabout
so I better keep my head down.