Re-listening to the Arctic Monkeys’ «Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not»


It had been a while since the last time I had heard the Arctic Monkeys’ fist album from start to finish. I suddenly had an urge to do so this morning and I must say that I am really glad that I decided to go with it.

As somebody that was a teenager during the 90s, my musical taste has really been shaped by that decade and all the kinds of music that defined it. When the Arctic Monkeys came out things had already changed a lot. But the Arctic Monkeys got to me from day one because to me they felt like a «bridge» between the two decades, even though their first album was released in 2006.

Eleven years later, it seemed interesting to listen to «Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not» again and see what it felt like now that the Arctic Monkeys are no longer a new band but have established their position as one of the best rock n’ roll bands in the world.


The personal story:

I still remember the first time I listened to the album. I was in Belgium for a few days and I was shopping for cds because I had forgotten to take any with me and I needed something to listen to while driving from Brussels to Charleroi and back on a rental car.

The album had been released about a month earlier and I had already listened to «I bet you look good on the dancefloor», which I liked, so I decided to buy it. Also the guy on the cover of the album (which is Chris McClure, a close friend of the band and frontman of the band The Violent May) really-really looks like famous Greek actor Dimitris Papamichail, so…

When I put it on, I was immediately hooked. I think I didn’t even play the other cds I bought that day during the whole trip!


The music:

Punk-ish music weirdly always seemed to me to have a dancing vibe to it. In their beginning the Arctic Monkeys had both of those elements in their music and they made it work almost effortlessly. That combined with Alex Turner’s storytelling in the lyrics, resulted in an awesome debut album from a band that showed from day one that they had the skills to become great, and they haven’t disappointed since. It was also a great way to bring together the adolescence of two decades: judging from that album, being a teenager in the 90s wasn’t all that different from being a teenager in the 00s – only with different… props!


The verdict:

The Arctic Monkeys are a great band. We all know that. But listening to their first album all over again really took me for a stroll down memory lane. And it wasn’t just memories of that trip in Belgium. It was happy memories of a whole time in music that I don’t really consider my own.

It also made me realize that this is my favorite album of the Arctic Monkeys. I already knew for sure that «When the sun goes down» is my favorite Arctic Monkeys song and it made me angry again, because three years ago when we went to see them play live in Pistoia Italy, they played neither that song nor «Fake tales of San Fransisco». Seriously! What’s up with that?

All in all this was one of those few albums that you can not stop moving to and singing along to the songs when you listen to them. And that’s always a sign of greatness.




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