67.) Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)
Because I'm not British, I came late to the Arctic Monkeys party and by late I mean not six months before they released their spectacular debut, Whatever People Say I Am That Is What I'm Not. I was there when the record came out, but in this day and age that still makes you a latecomer.
"You haven't heard the EP's?!!!"
Anyway, I probably should have been predisposed to hate Arctic Monkeys. The signs were all there - stupid band name, the fact they're kids (hardscrabble kids, yes but kids nonetheless) and then, of course there's the hype machine. But what they also had was a great record and in the end that's the most important thing.
Say what you want about Alex Turner, but you can't deny he's one a helluva lyric writer. His songs are filled with minute details that make them pop and the thing I like most about Arctic Monkeys is they write what they know - getting into fights, hanging out at clubs, run-ins with the cops, misadventures with girls - and this gives these songs an energetic authenticity that their actual youth compliments.
Alex Turner has proven to be a very prolific diarist - releasing two more good to great Monkeys records and one with his side project The Last Shadow Puppets since Whatever People Say's release in2006, but it's still Whatever People Say that captures the moment more than any other. Here are a bunch of blue collar raised kids going from zero to a hundred in a blink of an eye while singing about being blue collar kids. It's a great story and so far no one's fucked it up, so that's adds an extra level.
The only thing working against them is the fact that Whatever People Say concludes with "A Certain Romance" and it's not going to be easy for the boys to best that song. It's the standout on the record and of the band's entire catalog. It's a truly great moment as it's the most mature song on the record and a sure sign that they can wax a bit intellectually about all the fights they're getting into. They know it's not always sexy, but (and perhaps more importantly) they also know that sometimes it still is.
Posted by Pat Driscoll