I am not quite sure why the new Arctic Monkeys album has met with the kind of backlash it has.
Yes, it is a change up in the band’s sound, but I think it is a logical one, saving it from a long painful decline into stultifying sameness.
If anything, it reminds me a lot of early Bowie, and had the Thin White Duke dropped an album like this during his wilderness years of the 80s and 90s, everyone would have called it some kind of return to form.
Instead, it just seems to have left folks feeling confused and disappointed.
I’ve spun it a few times since it came out last week, and I’ve come away thinking it may be their best, but I’m still trying to articulate why.
In part, it is the sheer bravado of it.
I also appreciate the humor of tracks like Four Stars Out of Five, which suggests Alex Turner was anticipating the backlash while demonstrating he remains a peerless lyricist with a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue.
I’ve seen a few reviews refer to it as a ‘grower’ and I think that’s accurate in the way that the best albums keep revealing themselves to you long after you first encounter them, but I am guessing for others this one is requiring considerable acclimation.
I may try to unpack my thoughts more in a later post, but I definitely consider this one of the year’s best so far.