Citing influences such as the Jam, the Clash, and the Smiths, the Arctic Monkeys create a dynamic, punk-inspired sound well suited for Britpop and alternative rock fans alike. Alex Turner. The band’s Rambunctious first single “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” debuted at number one on the U.K. singles chart in October 2005. Their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, was issued in February 2006 and, within a day of its release, the album sold 118,501 copies in the U.K. This set a record for more records sold than the rest of the Top 20 album chart combined.
The debut album begins its heavy rotation with “The View from the Afternoon” with a jam-band vibe only an underground band could provide, but with a hall of fame hook that can’t be touched. “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” is probably the most Americanized, since it’s the band’s first single; however, it still remains effortlessly cool with that British, “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude. There’s also a sense of whimsy in the lyrics, as the lead singer proclaims, “Oh you’re an explosion, you’re dynamite. Your name isn’t Rio, but I don’t care for sand, lighting the fuse might result in a bang.” He then proceeds to explain, in an edgy, enchanting voice, that love can’t be found on the dance floor, but a little disco fever for a lovely lady could occur.
“Dancing Shoes” continues the upbeat, apparent love for tapping one’s toes, but brings out a heavier bass, somewhat sounding like Phantom Planet’s earlier work. The band continues to pervade the Britpop club scene and conceivably suggests the inevitable outcome of one who drinks too much under the glamorous glow of the deceiving disco ball. “Still Take You Home” is the sequel to “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” and “Dancing Shoes”, as it cunningly unfolds the sexual script that perhaps goes through a man’s mind after late night dancing. Alex Turner, lead singer, boasts suggestive lyrics like, “It’s ever so funny, I don’t think you’re special or cool. You probably already know, but under these lights you look beautiful. But I’m struggling, I can’t see through your fake tan. And you know it for a fact that everybody’s eating out of your hands. What do you know? You know nothing, but I’ll still take you home.”
Although revolving around simple lyrics and a beach-esque guitar score, “Mardy Bum” provides a certain catchiness that won’t necessarily have listeners singing in the shower, but it will bestow musical wonder in the ears of the impeccably in tune. “When The Sun Goes Down” must have been a close second for the suggested first single, as it is positively captivating with lyrics like, “Although you’re trying not to listen, overt your eyes and staring at the ground. She makes a subtle proposition, but sorry love I’ll have to turn you down. He must be up to something. What are the chances, sure it’s more than likely. I’ve got a feeling in my stomach. I start to wonder what his story might be.” The constant introduction to imagined characters on the tracks really do persuade the listeners to wonder for themselves “what his story might be.”
Creatively, like a perfectly planned novel, there’s a certain omnipresent theme that can be found in the musings of the Arctic Monkeys. Each song brings out a different, subtle part of the underlying theme by which the CD’s very essence is exposed. “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,” is more than band practice for the British phenomenon, it’s a story that leads its listeners in and then leaves them begging for more.