Words by Jordan Scott.
It’s been eleven years this week since the Arctic Monkeys released their genre defining album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.
In 2005 the music scene in Britain wasn’t in the best of states. The dust had settled from the explosive arrival of The Strokes from America and The Libertines looked like they had fallen apart for good, and it was a decade since Oasis conquered the world. There was a hole in the music industry waiting to be filled by the next truly great band, and the Arctic Monkeys were certainly the right ones to fill it.
In January 2006, the Arctic Monkeys announced themselves with an album that captured the attention of music fans all over the country, and would continue to do so for the next decade and beyond. The album propelled them from playing small clubs to the top of festivals line ups in a matter of months, and began a career that would see the band release another 4 number one albums and sell out tours all over the world.
One of the album’s greatest strengths is its subject matter. Frontman and lyricist Alex Turner masterfully paints pictures for the listener of average night’s out in Sheffield, as if he’s standing in the corner of a pub watching it all unfold. He covers everything from fights with bouncers, drunken plots to run from taxi’s, trying to pick up girls and dropping fruit machines. The albums lyrics are as relatable as they are intelligent, and just as identifiable to new fans as they were to those there in the beginning.
The album produced songs that became massive live favourites, songs such as ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’, ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘Dancing Shoes’ have never failed to make crowds go mad, and ‘A Certain Romance’ and ‘Mardy Bum’ have become huge anthems worthy of closing a festival weekend.
It’s no surprise the album went straight to number 1 in the UK and became the fastest selling debut album in British history, shifting 360,000 copies in its first week and eventually going quintuple platinum in the UK. The album saw the band clean up at the Brits and the NME awards, in the latter they took home best new band, best song and best British band. However, they didn’t seem too fussed about the whole thing, as Alex turner declared during their first speech of the night “I’m F*cking fed up of being stood up here already”.
Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not will forever be up there with the best and most important British albums of recent times, alongside the likes of Oasis’s Definitely Maybe, The Verve’s Urban Hymns, The Libertines Up The Bracket and all other’s that helped define British rock music.
Written by Jordan Scott, you can follow Jordan on twitter here.