Arctic Monkeys

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Essential Albums

  • AM
  • Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

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About Arctic Monkeys

The mid-2000s saw no lack of garage-rockin’ skinny-jeaned upstarts vying to join The Strokes and The Libertines on the cover of the NME. But not only were Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys able to whip up a media frenzy worthy of their heroes, they managed to thoroughly transcend it and become a rock institution unto themselves. Only 16 when he founded the band in 2002, singer/guitarist Alex Turner swiftly established himself as a songwriter of uncommon wisdom and wit, helping make the band’s scrappy 2006 salvo, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, the fastest-selling debut album in UK history. If that record suggested Turner was a natural inductee to the Ray Davies/Paul Weller/Damon Albarn school of British pub-rock philosophers, the Monkeys refused to settle for being a homegrown phenomenon and set their sights on global domination. By 2009’s Humbug, they were seeking riff-thickening advice from producer Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, while their 2013 blockbuster, AM, cracked the US Top 10 with the sort of sing-along stompers (“Do I Wanna Know?”, “R U Mine”) naturally suited to the festivals they routinely headlined. But once they established themselves as one of the world’s biggest rock bands, the Monkeys proved they could be among its most adventurous, too: On 2018’s glam-jazz concept album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Turner weaves a complex sci-fi narrative to address real-world woes like capitalism and media addiction, keeping his feet on the streets even as his band now orbit the stars.

Sheffield, England

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