CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW: WHATEVER PEOPLE THINK I AM, THATS WHAT I’M NOT

“We’re Arctic Monkeys and this is ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ – don’t believe the hype”.

The four infamous words that were shyly issued from a young, charismatic Alex Turner before kicking off into indie mega hit ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’. What started out as four ordinary lads from High Green, Sheffield, has now transcended into 5 chart topping albums and countless headline slots across the world. The Arctic Monkeys first exploded into the public consciousness in 2003, after a series of small gigs across Sheffield and surrounding towns. The band possessed a nonchalance presence in their first two albums. This feeling has not only helped define the band, it stands as a measurement of how the Arctic Monkeys have developed on a musical and personal basis. ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ was already a hit before it was officially released. Demos were handed out at live gigs, outside music venues and even distributed in the street. Leading to a hyperactive craze across Sheffield. Can you imagine the impression the band would have made if sites like Spotify or SoundCloud were legitimate conceptions in 2003?

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At the time, the British isles didn’t have a band that could compete with The Strokes and The White Stripes on an indie/alternative genre based level. When the album was released in January 2006, listeners were introduced to a loud, boisterous and empathic unison of 2 guitars with the gain turned up. It also showcased a very underrated drummer in Matt Helders. If you stripped the album back to just a single instrument, listeners would still be able to determine the meaning and emotion of the song. There is also a considerable amount of rebellion and fractious lyrics that are present throughout the album. ‘Riot Van’, ‘Fake Tales of San Fransisco’ and ‘From the Ritz to the Rubble’ see Turner describe moments of disturbances with the police, the band strong hate for a bandwagon band and nightclub going character try to avoid a nightclub bouncer. The tracks provided adolescents across Britain with a soundtrack to nights out, flirtation and aggression towards life.

It undoubtedly helped that Alex Turner is a wordsmith who defied, challenged and defined issues and emotions teenagers were experiencing in the 00’s. The majority of the tracks that feature were written by Turner at the tender age of 20, some even being penned earlier than that. The fact that this album was so successful and so timeless, is that each record looked at adolescent experiences, incorporating events that define and influence adolescent’s teens outlook and behaviour in life. It was Turner’s disillusioned and at some times, frankly bored story telling lyrics on such relatable subjects that resonated with listeners.

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Released: January 2006

Producer: Jim Abbiss, Alan Smyth

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Tracklist

01. The View From The Afternoon

02. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor

03. Fake Tales Of San Francisco

04. Dancing Shoes

05. You Probably Couldn’t See For The Lights But You Were Looking Straight At Me

06. Still Take You Home

07. Riot Van

08. Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured

09. Mardy Bum

10. Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But…

11. When The Sun Goes Down

12. From Ritz To The Rubble

13. A Certain Romance

Words by Matthew Thomas

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