When the Arctic Monkeys released Favourite Worst Nightmare, the album Fluorescent Adolescent is taken from, they were known not only as the band who had taken Hear’Say’s crown for the fastest selling British début (notching up 360,000 sales in a week in the process) but also as the MySpace band. Along with Lily Allen, many commentators hailed them as having been made by MySpace. At the time this was considered to be a sign of the changing times. Now, of course, being associated with MySpace just makes them sound old.
Of course the whole MySpace thing was always more of a press creation than a reality: the reason that the Arctic Monkeys, and Lily Allen, were, and are, so successful was that they wrote such great songs. The Arctic’s mix of addictively catchy hooks and biting lyrics meant that they were always destined for greatness. In fact many even questioned whether Alex Turner actually wrote the lyrics, claiming that they were too brilliant for such a young man (he was 19 when they recorded that record breaking début).
Thankfully Favourite Worst Nightmare silenced all those critics: the tunes are just as brilliant, the lyrics as cuttingly truthful, and no song better embodies that than Fluorescent Adolescent: to the sort of deceptively simple tune that the Revolver-era Beatles would have been happy to call their own, Turner sings a bitter-sweet tale of memories of misspent youth and the oh so drawn out torture of ageing.
Most bands would kill to write one song as good as Fluorescent Adolescent; at the time the Artics were knocking them out as if they were going out of fashion. Of course, much has changed since then. Turner now dates an ex-model, has a side-band influenced by Scott Walker (the man who apparently influenced yesterday’s #shfl11) and the Arctic’s most recent album was produced by an American rock god in the middle of a desert.
Personally, I preferred the music the Arctics were making when he wasn’t dating ex-models, and was more inspired by Oasis & The Streets than Scott Walker. But with a back-catalogue that includes tracks such as Fluorescent Adolescent, I’m happy to let Turner have his fancies, confident that he’ll keep putting out quality for a long time to come.
#shfl11 is a self-set challenge to write a post every day in 2011 about whatever song pops up 1st on shuffle on my iPod.
Fluorescent by David Jones on flickr