Humbug review by Arctic Monkeys

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  • Released: Aug 24, 2009
  • Sound: 5
  • Lyrics: 3
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 4 Poor
  • Users' score: 8.8 (213 votes)
Arctic Monkeys: Humbug

Sound — 5
A definate change is present here in the Monkeys' third outing 'Humbug'. However is this change good, or bad? In all my genuine fan honesty, it is a big dissapointment. Whilst it is a 'maturing' in some people's eyes, I personally beg to differ and say it is a lesson in tough love for Alex Turner as he is slowly losing his tight ability to write mature and entertaining songs. Just because the lyrics revolved around running away from coppers, or being caught drug-smuggling doesn't mean they weren't 'mature songs'. Here's a question i ask. For anyone out there who writes songs that they're proud of, think about the one's you AREN'T proud of. The one's that had nonsensical lyrics just put in beacuse they fitted your melody perfectly. The one's that were pointlessly depressive, and attempted to create a meaning but failed miserably. For me, that sums up this album. Whilst musically it is haunting, whistly, buzzing, vibrant, almost earthquake-like on the speakers, the actual songs fall short of impressing. Some melodies I can admit are catchy, classic Monkeys, however they're over run with this feeling of pointless dread and atmosphere that doesn't suit the album - as unlike a Pink Floyd album or Bowie album, this albums song have no variety or soul point. For fans of the classic monkeys, it's a step backwards then another step left towards Alex's side project 'The Last Shadow Puppets'. It's evident he's struggled as a songwriter to seperate the two band's and their fanbases, and has got caught up in the Shadow Puppets edgy sound. For fans of dark, ominous music - i give you the 5. Songs are overall fine, but there's certainly better sounding albums out there of this genre. Think of it like a 'Rock' band like Greenday, trying to reach further into the genre and try and make an album like 'Iron Maiden'. They'll never be as good, so just stick to Maiden. Thats what I feel here. I'd rather listen to 'Divison Bell' by Pink Floyd than this attempt by the Monkeys. Songs to look out for: 'Secret Door' 'Cornerstone' 'Crying Lightning'

Lyrics — 3
As I've touched on previously - absolute tosh. Such a dissapointment that Alex could not differenciate what the Monkeys achieved musically as a band, and what the Shadow Puppets achieved. There's no doubt people will praise these lyrics and say, 'intellegent - like LOL IN THE SONG CRYING LIGHTNING HE KEEPS MENTIONING NAMES OF SWEETS!' but there is no point! There's no point in referencing strawberry laces and pick n' mixes in Crying lightning! There's no point in asking us to spin Alex's 'Propeller'! NONE OF IT MAKES SENSE. I can assure you. You can sit and read the lyrics as I've done, trying to follow the album - but you'll get nowhere. The inspirational, story-like, witty and catchy lyrics of the previous two albums have now been replaced by unnescacerry longer words. Just because you have a good vocabulary Alex doesn't mean you have to flash it off. Alex is still a great singer however, can't knock that. However the darker, rockier songs on this album don't match up to the more melodic and (very rare) fun songs, as that's what he's best at doing.

Overall Impression — 4
Overall the Monkeys third outing is a brave and audacious attempt into broadening their musical talent, that falls short on so many levels. I'm not ripping into the band for changing their style, I'm ripping into them for changing it and failing to create good music as a result. The Killers 'Day & Age', for any fan will know, is a completely different album to their prior two. For one thing, the songs are almost techno-like with an absence of guitar and a replacement of synths. However the album was fantastic and catchy and definately one of the best. Not the case here, sadly. Most impressive songs have to be 'Secret Door', 'Cornerstone' and their first released single from this album 'Crying Lightning' - definately a grower. What I love about it: Definately the band shows competence in not being content with creating repetetive music. Different sound from the 'Whatever People say I Am, that's What I'm Not' and 'Favourite Worst Nightmire' Yorkshire boys. What I hate about it: Just not a good album. Hands have to be held up now, it's different - but it's just a lot of nonsensical, relatively un-catchy and un-melodic grunge. Definately would not reccomend any readers' buying, especially for classic Monkeys fans. Get the Last Shadow Puppets album, it's virtually the same music - and is far better. Thank you.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ironpriest wrote: and the singer was completely stoned anyway! Alex is a stoner?
    seems that way, everyone was saying he was slurring his speech, eyes drooped most of the time lol strange how the prodigy supported them, shouldve been the other way around
    well, I dont understand why everyone considers the song ,,pretty visitors'' to be a typicall composition for Arctic Monkeys. Obviusly it is not, because of the organ solo that changes the whole atmosphere in the music of these youngsters...including the keyboard sound in this album made all of us to think that the style is changed... nothing changes, it just developes the way they make their impressions...