Saturday, 28 December 2013

Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know

"Do I Wanna Know" was a song that hit me instantly as one of the best tracks of 2013. I have always been a fan of the Arctic Monkeys and have seen them numerous times and it has been great to see them develop into the greatest rock band of the 21st century in my opinion.

I think that only Queens of the Stone Age can rival them for that title. And I think that the reason that the Monkeys have evolved into the greatest band can be directly attributed to the work they have done with the lead singer of QOTSA, Josh Homme. QOTSA have always had a slower, more powerful sound than the one the Monkeys exhibited in their first two albums and it was from the moment that I discovered Josh Homme would be working on the third Arctic Monkeys album "Humbug" that I knew it would be a banger. And it was!

For me the strength of the Arctic Monkey's fifth album "AM" was that it melded some of the everyday storytelling lyricism of the first two albums, with the heavier elements of the third and fourth albums and the fact that Alex Turner lyrics are sung now, rather than the rapid-fire delivery of their earlier work (which I seen him attribute to the fact they were playing in grimy venues with really dodgy microphones at the start).

Added to the developments from the Arctic's previous work was that this was the first album where they took some of the sonic elements of rap production from the late 90's/early 2000's era, particularly the work that Dr Dre was doing around this time. It is clear that the band has always been rap fans; I saw a great bit in an interview where Alex Turner proclaims Roots Manuva's "Run Come Save Me" as a seminal album. Except it's in America and the host clearly has no idea how amazing that album is! In "Do I Wanna Know" there's something about it that reminds me of "The Watcher", the first proper track on Dr Dre's 2001 album. Except replace the funky bass on that with a powerful guitar riff. I love the backing vocals on the track. Especially when there is the call & response element to them in the chorus.

I think one of my favourite moments this year was when Arctic Monkeys walked out on stage at Glastonbury, kicked off with this track and you can hear the audience cheer and sing the opening guitar riff. At this point the song hadn't been out for very long and to start a Glastonbury headline appearance with it must of been considered a risk. But it wasn't. When you've got a song this amazing it's never a risk.

"AM" has been called Arctic Monkeys best album in some circles. That is a valid argument. I have gone back and forth and what is my favourite track on it. That is always a good sign. But this was an announcement track to me. It was an indicator of the forthcoming album and that is probably why it's a favourite. Plus the video is mesmerising too!

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