Sunday, April 3, 2011

Arctic Monkeys: Humbug

Released in 2009, Humbug had a lot of pressure on it. It was the follow-up to "Favourite Worst Nightmare", which was well-received by critics, but fans seemed to be split on it; and that's understandable. They were expecting something just as groundbreaking as "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not". Traces of that particular type of punk-rock are still present in both albums, but you can see the gradual transition to a less punk-rock oriented and darker theme, and its no wonder that Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age helped out immensely in the album's production.

The riffs aren't quite as catchy, but Alex Turner's lyrics really shine more than anything. I don't know if its gibberish or genius, but Turner was always praised for his imaginative lyrics. This is especially the case in Crying Lightning and The Jeweler's Hands, which by the way is by far my favourite Arctic Monkeys song (though I'm not entirely sure what its about). Now for the tracks

1. My Propeller
A really cool jam and a fantastic way to open the album, when I heard it for the very first time, I knew that Arctic Monkeys were not in familiar territory and yet felt perfectly comfortable.
2. Crying Lightning
Another awesome tune....about candy? Not sure what its about, but its enjoyable from beginning to end.
3. Dangerous Animals
It took me awhile to really appreciate this tune but now I really like it.
4. Secret Door
Used to be my favourite song, now its kind of...meh, the lyrics are very cool though and that's where it stands out.
5. Potion Approaching
All I have to say is, its okay. Not a whole lot to say about this tune.
6. Fire and the Thud
Again, love the imagery and the slow and steady beat fits the mood perfectly; of course, its just getting ready for a solo right out of nowhere. Its headbanging material, I love it.
7. Cornerstone
Think of it as a long poem by Alex Turner. The solo in this song seems kind of out of place. They just felt like the song needed a solo somewhere. Other than that, I have no huge complaints.
8. Dance Little Liar
Its good, but I wouldn't say memorable, there's way better songs on this album.
9. Pretty Visitors
Okay, here's your punk-rock song. I love that marching beat in the middle of the song. My favourite line? "What came first, the chicken or the dickhead?" I smile every time I hear that lol.
10. The Jeweler's Hands
Its about as far away from the sound of the first album as you can get, yet I still love every single moment of it. The end especially, you get the feeling that the band is kind of marching away from the listener, as if to imply "The old Arctic Monkeys are gone". And if you've heard the latest tune "Brick by Brick" that would seem to be the case.

So, that's my first review, "Track by Track". I know, I only gave you like one sentence for each song, so I guess you could say I'm not Pitchfork material huh? I wanted my first review to be of an album that I really like, yet a lot people seem to dislike. I'm not sure what the hate on Humbug is, maybe AM fans were expecting an epic punk-rock follow up to their first album and just overlooked this one's finer points. Well, at any rate, I plan to do something a little more obscure next week.

Rating: 8.4


  1. Arctic Monkeys are the bomb, you should go check out Favourite Worst Nightmare!

  2. Gotta love The Jeweler's Hands, definitely my favorite song off the album.

  3. Favourite Worst Nightmare is also really good. I'd say that and Humbug are about equal.