It was the first year of my haphazard shepherding of this blog. I was about to make a huge (for my family) move to Richmond, VA from Knoxville, TN. Arctic Monkeys dropped “Brick By Brick” and then “Don’t Sit Down Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”. While part of the world pondered what-in-the-fuck was going on with the boys from Sheffield, I rubbed my hands together like Scrooge. By this point I’ve spent several years miserly collecting every single, EP, and album that Arctic Monkeys ever released. All the decent cover songs. Several live performances. My body was ready, even if some folks weren’t.
I had just completed the move from Knoxville, TN to Richmond, VA. New job, much larger place, completely different kind of city. I was out of my comfort zone and my wife and I, eight month old son in tow, were effectively 8 hours away from any family. We were on an island, miserable. The middle of May rolls around and I happen to have May 17th and 18th off and the Arctic Monkeys were playing with The Vaccines (a new favorite at the time) in Washington DC. Hell yeah, I’m going. I heard my first few deep cuts off of Suck It And See that night. I fell in love with “Hellcat Spangled Shalala” and “That’s Where You’re Wrong”, and that album has held a special place in my heart ever since. To be honest, it’s hard to go back and listen to it. I love it, but the memories tied to it are ones of loneliness due to my family and I adjusting to being away from everyone we knew. Still, I’m glad the agile beasts were there for me to jam with on my 45 minute (as in 1 hour 30 minutes both ways) commutes to work.
I woke up yesterday morning to find that Arctic Monkeys have stealth released a new track called “Do I Wanna Know?” It’s been played live several times, even recorded, but I’ve never listened. I don’t go in for that kind of thing, really. It had also been compared to “R U Mine?”, so my interest was piqued. I’m an Arctic Monkeys homer, that’s no lie. I could justify the band getting reverse mohawks and playing bluegrass. It’s just my thing. That said, fucking wow.
“Do I Wanna Know?” marks the continuance of Arctic Monkeys love for a moderately more standard form of rock n’ roll than they are perhaps most widely known for. I’m absolutely smitten with it. While I’d consider myself an Arctic Monkeys apologist,I’ve never felt the need to defend their music. They speak for themselves with their work, and on “Do I Wanna Know?” they roll Humbug and it’s desert sound into the lyrical beauty of Suck It And See, shake, stir, and produce a simultaneously sultry and desperate jam of lust, wine, and slicked back hair.
It’s nice to feel “summat in my ears” again via these four English lads. They are directly responsible for my shift from a mainstream listening only young adult into a musically cultured gentleman (gentleman is a stretch). So what, they’ll never reproduce Whatever You Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not…I still challenge you to find a handful of bands that began releasing around the same time frame (or after) of the Arctic Monkeys’ debut who have been more consistently brilliant.