Album review: “AM” by Arctic Monkeys

Maggie Cody, Entertainment Editor

The English Indie-rock band the Arctic Monkeys seems to be gaining popularity every day in the alternative scene. The title of their newest album “AM,” was inspired by The Velvet Underground’s “VU.” “AM” was ranked in the top five on iTunes.

This edgier-sounding album was a huge success in gaining respect and recognition as the band was nominated for their third Mercury Prize on Sept. 11.

Showing much confidence, they released the first song on June 19, almost three months before the rest of the album came out. After hearing “Do I Wanna Know,” Arctic Monkeys fans were psyched for more.

The anticipation grew as they waited, and when they finally got the rest of it, whether it was on the release date Sept. 9 or weeks before when it leaked on the Internet, Arctic Monkeys fans were not disappointed.

The album itself consists of mostly songs with a very defined bass broken up by a few sad, love ballads and a few polished punk pieces.

Months before its release, the band told NME that their fifth album “AM” would be more hip-hop influenced.

“It’s like a Dr. Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl-cut and sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster,” lead singer Alex Turner said.

With songs such as “Snap Out of It” and “Knee Socks,” the bass is very apparent as it is in “Do I Wanna Know?” The songs featuring bass are perfectly placed throughout the album so listeners don’t get sick of hearing the same type of song.

This album definitely holds some pop qualities with the exaggerated usage of backup vocals and harmonization. Some of the backups even sound like they could have been taken out of Justin Timberlake’s latest album.

Thankfully, the pop is perfectly proportioned with some more polished garage band-sounding songs that have brilliant, punk guitar riffs along with both vocals and guitar solos. The band steps a little out of their comfort zone with songs like “Arabella” and “R U Mine?”

“R U Mine?” gets answered ten songs later by the song “I Wanna Be Yours.” This, along with a few other sad, love ballads, doesn’t stray too far away from what they’re used to, but stand out from their other most recent releases with their defined blues sound. These sad ballads tell stories of lost love and despair that leave listeners sad until the next song picks your mood back up.

The brilliant arrangement of the songs on this album is probably my favorite part, along with many of the song titles. “No. 1 Party Anthem” is a great song after you get over the fact that you should not be playing it at a party, as it is actually a sad song with a misleading title. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” is one of those songs that just makes you want to click on it because of the clever name.

Turner cites that “AM” was partially influenced by Outkast, Aaliyah and Black Sabbath.

The album sounds a little like The Black Keys to me, but with an inevitable edgy twist because of Turner’s distinct voice. “AM” is noticeably different from their past albums in both good and bad ways.

I wouldn’t say that I like it more than some of their previous albums, such as “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” and “Favourite Worst Nightmare,” but the Arctic Monkeys did an amazing job of stepping out of their comfort zone, adding twists of hip-hop, blues and punk rock and maintaining their original, unique sound.