Arctic Monkeys: 10 years of AM
The era-defining album from the Sheffield boys put Arctic Monkeys on a trajectory to true global success
Arctic Monkeys have written themselves into world music folklore. For over 20 years, their music has been a commentary of life, from the rough and tumble of nights out in Sheffield to taking a deeper philosophical look at the world.
A decade ago, in September 2013, Arctic Monkeys unleashed ‘AM’ onto the world. It was their first album in two years, a two year absence which followed a run of four albums in five years between 2006 to 2011. ‘AM’ was a different prospect to the likes of ‘Humbug’ and ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’. It was the beginning of the mid-2010’s era for the band which became known for leather jackets and slicked back hair.
The album took the band’s global popularity and success to a whole new level. In the UK, the headlined Glastonbury in 2014 and Reading & Leeds Festival in 2014. Coupled with a huge UK, Europe and North American tour, Arctic Monkeys took their mantle as Sheffield’s finest, and moved into a household name known the world over. ‘AM’ shifted AM up a gear, and the album was a work of art- ideal for this next step of global domination.
‘Do I Wanna Know?’ into ‘R U Mine?’ is an opening duo of tracks for the ages. The album has a dark, mysterious and sexy vibe to it throughout, and it has given fans songs which are still firm favourites and that are a regular fixture on the touring setlist. Almost a third of the 21 songs the band played at their recent show in Toronto were from the album marking a decade of existence.
The album is not only a classic for the original members, but also for the guest appearances of other top quality musicians. Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Elvis Costello’s drummer Pete Thomas and Bill Ryder-Jones of the Coral all feature on this noir-style wander through the plains of existential rock music.
Also being a big fan of QOTSA, the Homme input in ‘Knee-Socks’ makes it an instant favourite of mine on an album where it feels though you choose a favourite song at your own discretion. Choosing one is tough, but everyone has their favourite which they’ve held onto tightly since first hearing many years ago.
There were albums before ‘AM’ and there have been and will continue to be albums afterwards, but the slick, sophisticated sound which the 2013 record created is something we’ve not seen at any other chapter in the Arctic Monkeys playbook.
The band may be keen not to wait another five years to release new music, and even a couple of years off this window would be music to the ears of fans everywhere.
Replicating ‘AM’ isn’t something which fans demand, as the band’s sound has changed a great deal with the two albums since the 2013 release, but repeating the same heights of the album is something which, if achieved, would send a reminder to the world of music that Arctic Monkeys are not going anywhere.