this is the second song we've heard from the highly anticipated 4th Arctic Monkeys album "Suck It & See" (due out in early June 2011) - the first was the rocker "Brick By Brick"... this is the third new song, if you count "Piledriver Waltz" from singer Alex Turner's soundtrack for the indie film "Submarine" (not sure if the version on "Suck It & See" will be different than the one on the soundtrack).
people have often talked about a "sophomore slump", where a band produces two great albums - a debut and follow-up in quick succession... but then has trouble with the third album... they've recorded all the ones they'd been working on and are sometimes pressured, by record companies or whoever, to hurriedly write new songs and crank out a third album before they are ready... or they decide to make a departure from their tried and true sound in order to "experiment" on the third album and land up going in courageous but unfortunate directions....
so perhaps for a lot of bands these days, it's really the third album that is the challenge... off the top of my head, i am thinking of the third albums by arctic monkeys and M.I.A. which were really different from their first two albums and were pretty much universally underappreciated by both critics and fans.
i might add that SINCE the third M.I.A. album, we've had all kinds of singles (such as the diss track to New York Times reporter Lynn Hirshfield "I'm A Singer (To The Haters)" and her chorus on Rye Rye's delightful "Sunshine") and the Vicki Leekx mixtape) from her which prove she hasn't lost her touch.
The three new songs we've heard from Arctic Monkeys indicate a "return to form". Third album producer Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) was passed over for the fourth album (although he sang background on one song) in favor of a return to producer James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco). The third album ("Humbug") grew on me. It had some good songs. But, like everyone else, I found it less accessible, exciting, compelling than the first two classics. "Suck It & See" seems like it will be a straightforward rocker, full of 60s and 70s references, with clever lyrics and.... will this be the one that breaks them in America?
I don't know if they are bothered about how popular they are in America or not. They're already rich and famous beyond what anyone could wish for (Alex was recently named one of the UK's richest dudes under 30, with an estimated worth of 7.5 British Pounds). I just find it funny that they play huge stadiums in the UK and I can still see them in relatively small places in the US. Not that I'm complaining. I don't really relish going to see them in a baseball stadium or basketball arena. But I guess I would like my countrymen in America to finally catch on to what the rest of the world has known for several years - The Arctic Monkeys are one of the best bands in the world. Well, I suppose us Americans who know that already can get some satisfaction from being "insiders", but that only goes so far.
They keep coming to America - Alex lived here for a while and album 3 and 4 were both recorded in America - I have the chance to see them three times this summer in California (at two venues in Southern California and San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park - so far) ... maybe this year people in America will realize how great Arctic Monkeys are.