Arctic Monkeys Retrospective: ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ Review


In anticipation of Arctic Monkeysnew album ‘AM’ (due out 09/09), David Handley continues to look back on the indie heroes’ discography, moving onto their sophomore 2007 album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’.

So, how do you follow up the most successful debut album of all time? By releasing an album that is equally as good, winning more awards, and breaking more records in the process – that’s the route Arctic Monkeys took with their second album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’. During its release, the band became the first artist to have every song from an album inside the top 200 of the UK singles chart at the same time. But after all the records and critical acclaim, how does the album sound six years on?

From the opening seconds of ‘Brianstorm’, you can tell this is a different Arctic Monkeys to the band who released their debut just a year earlier. The sound is much heavier, but also more emotionally involved, with tracks such as ‘505’ and ‘Do Me A Favour’ standing out as highlights. The lyrics of Alex Turner were once again critically acclaimed but it was the sound of the band as a whole that really took centre stage. Drummer Matt Helders started to become a huge focal point of the band’s musicality on ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare‘.

The main talking point was how could Alex Turner still write relatable lyrics, now that he was a famous rock star. The answer was by focusing more on emotions, rather than situations. As well as ramping up the speed and loudness on certain songs, there were also slower, more melodic tracks which brought the emotional and lyrical content to the forefront.

One of the ways you can tell the lasting success of this album is by taking note of how much of it still features prominently in the band’s live shows. Six of its tracks were played during the band’s headline performance at Glastonbury this year, with ‘505‘ taking its usual place as the set closer. It’s clear that the majority of this album’s songs still resonate greatly with both the band and the fans.

Thematically, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare‘ shows the start of Arctic Monkeys looking to more far reaching ideas and bringing them into their music. From love, loss, sex, homesickness and more, Arctic Monkeys showed that they were not just a band for soundtracking a night out, they were a band who could reach much further than that.

By once again overcoming the pressure and expectation placed upon them, Arctic Monkeys secured their first festival headline spots and their place among the biggest bands in Britain.

David Handley
David Handley is a 26 year old from Wolverhampton. He has blogged for Sabotage Times and Culture / Trash among others and runs a Literature blog for The Express & Star. He is a lyric fan and loves all sorts of music, but will always have a soft spot for early 2000's indie. CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Augustines, THE XX, Blossoms. David can be found at @DavidHandley on twitter or at his blog -

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