Arctic Monkeys Album Review: AM (2013)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you AM, the fifth album from the Arctic Monkeys.

In green is my opinion. I am not familiar with this band, but the album cover caught my eye in the iTunes store. I listened to the album and I would like to take a closer listen to it for a review!

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He has seen the Arctic Monkeys pop up on concert tours, and he thinks he has heard a couple of their songs on the radio. He is eager to hear what they have to offer.

Not interested in this band or familiar with them? These reviews will you give you a taste of their music. Let’s start our track-by-track review.

Do I Wanna Know?

This song is the ideal introduction to this album. To put it simply, Do I Wanna Know is a slow boil. The chorus is where the song steams. The falsetto we hear much of on the album is ever so apparent on this track, and it works. This song is sassy, simple, and a great starter choice. At this point I’m interested in AM. Do I Wanna Know is an opener that sucks you right it.

I fell in love with this song right away. It includes a beat you will never forget and a sick guitar riff which reminds me of the wild west. I like how the song gets louder at the chorus and then drops when it goes back to the verse. The vocals are chill, though this song is different than what I am used to listening to.

R U Mine?

This track kicks so much ass. The vocals are right on, fitting the fast guitar and grooving drums. The falsetto, once again, helps the song a ton. It adds a whole other dimension to the track. R U Mine keeps moving along, and it could definitely serve as a great show opener. Even the quieter moments feel fast. The “rest” moments didn’t slow the song down. In fact, they were well-needed speed bumps. Coming off of those quiet moments, the Monkeys move just as fast. R U Mine is a solid track.

You can tell there is a lot of power in this song, especially in the guitar. The bass has a remix kind of a sound to it, and it works.  I also love the backing vocals, which remind me of older generations of music. You can tell that the guitar is the center of attention in this song.

One for the Road

This song isn’t an outstanding one. One for the Road is just fine. It verges on being repetitive, and it’s not a memorable track. This is definitely a weaker song on the album.

Once again I really love the bass and the harmony. It seems as if that is what the Arctic Monkeys are great at. The song is very mellow, and I love the guitar toward the end.

Arabella

That bass. Arabella starts with funky bass, breaks into rock, and then retreats back to funk. Classic rock lovers will likely cling to this track, as it’s a rock song at its finest. Funk surely takes the back seat, whereas it was at the wheel during R U Mine despite the song’s over all rockish sound. Arabella is a great blend of the two sounds. 

Wow, I love how this song sounds like classic rock! You can tell it has a Black Sabbath sound to it. I thought A7X were the only ones who had classic metal sounds to their songs, but the Arctic Monkeys do it just as well on Arabella. It sounds a lot like War Pigs, and I love it when bands pay tribute to the classics. Arabella is by far one of my favorites on the album.

I Want it All

I don’t like this song. The lyrics are not easily understandable, the guitar is overbearing, and it’s just not a cohesive song that stands out in any way. I Want it All is a low point for AM. It should have stayed in the studio. This one wasn’t ready to be put onto this album.

At first, I thought this was going to be a cover of the Queen song of same title, but it sounds nothing like it. Once again, the track opens up with a nice guitar, though it does get loud for some reason two minutes into the song, which was not good. I Want it All is fine, but not one of my favorites on the album.

No. 1 Party Anthem

This is a song that could be played after all but but a handful of people have left a dance. It definitely sounds like a party song, though not in a conventional sense. No. 1 Party Anthem has a classic sound to it. If my dad were to play me this song because it was something “hip” from his generation, I would believe it. It’s not the best this album has to offer, but serves as a nice cool-down from the failure of a song that precedes it.

This song has a Pink Floyd-type sound in the beginning, and I love how slow it is. It is the exact opposite of a party anthem, which I find funny. A DJ could play this as a slow song, however, because the lyrics help set the mood for you know what. It reminds me of the older Coldplay because of how mellow it sounds.

Mad Sounds

This song reminds me of Robert Plant’s I’m in the Mood (For a Melody). The bass and guitar together create a very similar sound to that Robert Plant song, which is by no means a bad thing. It’s a nice little track, not so full of substance, but enjoyable.

Once again, the titled fooled me because I thought this would be a heavy song, but it is another slow song. The bass has a good groove once again and the guitar sounds chill too (ohhhh that’s why they have ‘arctic’ in their name). Puns aside, I really like this song. The keyboard gives it a church vibe. It turns out that the song was inspired by The Velvet Underground by Lou Reed, who died a day after my birthday this year. R.I.P. man. I hope you heard this song.

Fireside

The acoustic guitar and the keyboards work well together to create a song that oozes of nostalgia. I don’t personally relate to the song, but the image of a bunch of people around a campfire listening to a buddy play acoustic guitar comes to mind. The ending once again has that older vibe. Fireside is a fine song, though I feel that it would have been better solely acoustic. 

Wow, I did not expect this song to start off so quickly. It was a fresh jolt of energy. I love the acoustic guitar in the song, along with the drums that follow it. I can close my eyes to Fireside and easily enjoy it because of the way it sounds. I also love the lyrics and the voice.

Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? Eminem fans, tell me that the bass line of this song doesn’t remind you of Eminem’s Real Slim Shady. This song is one of the best the album has to offer. The vocals are right on, the instrumental is top notch, and the lyrics are excellent. This song has rhythm, and it knows it. The bass dominates this song.

Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High sounds like a rap song at the beginning, and just like most short songs, I love it! The lyrics are solid, but the bass and the drums stand out more than anything. This song is one of my favorites from the album! It also has a great instrumental section toward the end.

Snap Out of It

This song is fueled by the keyboards. It’s sassy, melodic, and euphoric. Snap Out of It should absolutely be used in a movie or television show, as it has that refined mainstream sound, and it works. Snap Out of It is a success, and it’s one of the most individual tracks of AM. The falsettos were notably significant on this track, and well-executed. I dig this song.

First we have a Black Sabbath-sounding song, then a song that sounds like the late Lou Reed, then an Eminem-sounding bass line, and now we have a song that sounds like the Beatles. Is there anything this band cannot do? I really like this song, as it has that 80’s feel to it.

Knee Socks

Yes. This song is yes. The guitar-work is captivating, and the lyrics are some of the best of the album. Knee Socks is the highlight of AM, as it has a sense of humor. Knee socks on women are nothing to complain about, and the fact that the Monkeys agree is a comforting thought. Knee Socks is a sensual, almost funny kind of song that will definitely stir some feelings. The guitar riff reminds me of Dave Stewart and Vanessa Paradis’s cover of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side cover, notably the well-known “doo-doo” lines. This may have been what the Monkeys were going for. 

I do not and will never wear Knee Socks, but damn this song makes you want to get lucky. This is the Spaceman of Arctic Monkeys, and it’s one of the best songs on the album. I’m not going to lie. The lyrics did make me laugh. I don’t know why, but the song is funny to me and the harmony reminds me of Justin Timberlake. On top of that, the vocals are great as ever.

I Wanna Be Yours

This song is based off of an atrocious poem from a guy named John Cooper Clark. Take a listen below.

The Arctic Monkeys took this song and made it sound sensual rather than lifeless and nasty. I Wanna Be Yours is a chill song that is hypnotic. I Wanna Be Yours is a great lyrical feat, as the meaning is interesting. I really enjoy this song. The Arctic Monkeys end AM on a positive, mellow note.

To end the album, we have a song based on a poem by John Cooper Clark. I cannot believe we got two songs in a row about sex, but this one is much more mellow. It is really deep and poetic which is why I love it. I could not think of a better way to end this album. Thank you, cousin, because this review made me a fan of the Arctic Monkeys. As always, thank you all for reading another great review and stay tuned for the next one!

My Top 3

Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

Knee Socks

I Wanna Be Yours

Robert’s Top 3

Arabella

I Wanna Be Yours

Mad Sounds

Overall, AM is a T-Bone. The middle of the album definitely lags a bit, but nonetheless I enjoyed the record. The songs that work are truly outstandingThere is definitely some worthwhile material here. Some more polish would have been appreciated, as some songs could have been better, but AM still stands as a T-Bone. I recommend checking out this album. It’s worth your listen!

~Juck

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2 comments on “Arctic Monkeys Album Review: AM (2013)

  1. Reading what you two had to say on this review have off a not so experienced vibe. This album alone easily is just one of the best things in modern day rock n roll. From the captivating lyrics to the classic rock/heavy metal sound of their riffs and licks.. The review was like reading comments from middle school kids who had stumbled upon their music.

    • I’m glad you dig the album Keane! What Robby and I do is take each song as it comes and talk about it like we’re guys chillin. We obviously are not trying to be professional critics, we just dig music and dig talking about it. We’re loose. At the time when this review was published, we had just stumbled upon the Arctic Monkeys. Rob and I aren’t familiar with their previous work, as stated at the beginning of the review. I’m sorry that you didn’t fancy our piece

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