As my taste in music has matured, the Arctics have fast become one of my favourite artists, for their ever-changing indie-rock sound, slick guitar riffs – “Do I Wanna Know?” springs to mind – and pitch-perfect lyrics. In the last twelve months, we’ve had the release of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, their sixth studio album, as well as the brilliant single “Anyways”. Out of all of the band’s chronology, I personally find Favourite Worst Nightmare to be their best work yet, while Humbug and Suck It And See stand out to me as the comparative low points. However you personally feel, these are my top 5 tracks from “Our Generation’s Most Important Band” (NME).
5. A Certain Romance – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2006
Potentially a contentious choice to put in fifth place – why isn’t it number one? Well, while I do enjoy “A Certain Romance”, it’s just that I find some other pieces of the Arctics’ work more enjoyable. Having said that, it’s safe to say there’s nothing better than a coming-of-age song; apt, as WPSIATWIN‘s closing track ushered in a new generation of indie music. The fast drumbeat intro and lyrics reminiscent of years-gone-by make this a great track to put on, whatever the weather.
4. Fluorescent Adolescent – Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2007
Is it wrong to call this a throwback song? I unironically associate it with year-11 house parties. Maybe that’s a testament to its durability more than anything else, maybe it’s just a pop song. Either way, “Fluorescent Adolescent” is good fun to listen to. On an initial examination, the lyrics come off as somewhat crude: “You used to get it in your fishnets. Now you only get it in your nightdress.” – ‘Is he talking about what I think he’s talking about?’ was my first reaction. Sounds as though someone’s relationship might have lost its… er… ‘spunk’. Nevertheless, this is the story of a relationship losing the magic that once made it special, but the bouncy melody keeps it surprisingly upbeat.
I still play this at parties. Iconic, end of.
3. Do I Wanna Know? – AM, 2013
The amount of merchandise available and hype surrounding this album around its time of release has made it sort of synonymous with the band as a whole, but as the jewel in AM‘s crown, this smooth and sensual tune has transcended its cult status (probably initially only accessible to indie-heads) and made its way into pop culture. The first time I heard this song I didn’t even realise that I already knew it. The now infamous opening riff (the Arctics love a catchy opening if you hadn’t figured that out by now) incorporates elements of psychedelic rock and picks up where the last single, “R U Mine?” left off, albeit with a slower rhythm. In fact, the song as a whole could arguably be seen as a callback to Suck It And See – the group’s last album prior to AM.
2. Mardy Bum – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2006
Ah yes, the Arctic Monkeys song I didn’t realise I liked. I suspect that might be the same for all people, as it was only when it came on in LEVEL in Liverpool that I realised what a fucking banger it is! Featuring the Arctics’ single catchiest lyric – “Remember cuddles in the kitchen, yeah. To get things off the ground.” – “Mardy Bum” was my first education on northern slang and women: there’s no getting through to her ‘when [she’s] got the face on’. A total crowd-pleaser and a standout slower-paced track than the rest of the freshman outing.
1. 505 – Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2007
Boy does this song give me chills when it comes on. Favourite Worst Nightmare is undoubtedly my favourite Arctics album, and “505” is a gorgeous closing track. Turner’s rising anger and frustration shine through, as the song steadily intensifies until its epic crescendo at the 2:30 mark, displaying a newfound sense of spectacle and drama from the group’s sophomore effort. The opening, a homage to Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, is superbly subdued at first listening but masks an underlying fury which bursts forth when the song really kicks into gear. Due to its masterful arrangement and juggling of various themes and ideas, “505” deserves the top spot in my book, not least because it’s generally a great song on its own merit.
Having said all that, I’m sure the whole order will have changed by tomorrow.