We all like rock and roll because for all its Billboard chart prostitution and the forty-year long corporate dentistry de-toothing it has received; rock and roll is still a little bit naughty. Like riding a motorbike or drinking. That’s the point of rock and roll. That image of the phallic guitar, standing tall over fans. Rock singers spreading themselves out, arms up, legs apart over the crowd, those are great images and going to a rock show, even something as corporate and monosyllabic and glacial as Franz Ferdinand has a little sumthin’ sumthin’. The new Arctic Monkeys album passes the fourth wall by being entirely empty of menace or violence or intrigue or power.
The latest Arctic Monkeys log, laid just recently, is pretty much antithetical to anything I like about music. Doubly odd considering it’s a rock album by people who once had some sort of intrigue or danger in their music and someone with dough in their ears and shit for brains might think they were just doing the same old thing. But since then the Arctic Monkeys have been on dialysis. Each subsequent release leeching a little more bile out; and just before recording commenced on their latest release that process was completed and now their new album is equivalent to a desiccated corpse.
If you were to disembowel Alex Turner, and lord knows enough people want to, I don’t know if he’d even notice. Nothing would come out. Because the new Arctic Monkeys album is gutless, utterly without blood, without kinetic energy, without anima. Emotionless tedium chugs past, hours? Minutes? Who even fucking cares? It’s lazy. I’m sure the Monkeys think they’re doing something incredibly profound, and that they’ve abandoned the immaturity and teenage anger that made their first album not awful. Missing that that same immaturity is making them mistake tediousness, obsequiousness and laziness for depth.
I hate the new Arctic Monkeys album. Verily I hate it more than the self-satisfied bloody band themselves. It’s full of oh-so-clever non references. A song called Number One Party Anthem is an ironically titled melancholy piano piece. Which probably sounded really good to the band and there were no six year olds on hand to tell them that after about thirty seconds that joke would never even bear a passing relationship to wit. Perhaps the crowning awfulness of this abomination is Arabella, which shamefacedly half-inches the Sabbath War Pigs riff without the defence of spoof.
AM is a dreadful album, and probably the worst album I’ve heard this year because it is boring. It isn’t even bad in the laughably awful bring-your-mates one-star bad. It’s a much more awful and insidious kind of woeful. If you had it turned down so that you could still speak normally, you would completely ignore it. Like an ear tuned to static the human brain instantly tunes it out. Even through headphones I found myself listening to my washing machine going through its cycles, or the conversation at the bus stop rather than this turgid dross. And the sound of my washing machine mechanically scrubbing the skid marks off my undies was more exciting, more unexpected, more creatively rewarding, wittier, sharper and less boring than AM. I would recommend buying this though. Only because it’s more satisfying to microwave a CD than to just hate a stream.
Written under duress by Steven.