After a few days, I’ve finally managed to find time to give the new Arctic Monkeys album a listen. It’s called Humbug. Check it out.
So, I saw that this latest effort from the Arctic Monkeys received mostly positive reviews, and that made me pretty eager to hear Humbug. One of my roommates was listening to it a couple days ago, so I was first exposed to it as some background noise from the other room. I gave it a full listen the next day, and I must say, it’s not at all as good as I was hoping it would be.
The sound is consistently heavy, although not always aggressive, as is pretty common of the group. There’s a large focus on percussion, another characteristic often heard in their music. I find the album as a whole to be slightly heavier and a tad slower than their previous efforts, which I don’t think works too well. I’ll break it down.
Track 1: My Propeller
This is a pretty good opening track, and it is a great start to a strong front bit of the album. It kind of sets the tempo for the album. The track’s got a really heavy sound a bit over two minutes in there’s a part where everything drops out, and then the percussion reintroduces the song. Very propeller-esque. 4
Track 2: Crying Lightning
This is the first single off the album, and it’s pretty catchy, no doubt, but I mean, it kind of sounds the same as the first track. I’m probably going to be saying that a lot throughout this album. It all sounds the same. The guitar solo is pretty cool, as is the snare drum bit, but overall, I’m not a huge fan of this song, though. 3
Track 3: Dangerous Animals
I’d probably have to say I only like this track because they spell stuff, and that’s always pretty fun to listen to. Again, it sounds pretty similar to what we just heard, and while it may have hit with most people, I’m just not a huge fan of the sound. 3½
Track 4: Secret Door
The beginning of this song is very cool sounding, and it reminds me of “Despair in the Departure Lounge” a bit. Once the percussion kicks in though, it goes back to sounding just like the rest of the album. The choruses provide some much needed contrast. I guess the sound’s not bad, but it just gets dull. The percussion is pretty good, though. 3
Track 5: Potion Approaching
A pretty heavy song, but really nothing remarkable. I like the bass into the bridge and the way the song slows down. Other than that, I think this is a throw away track. I’d be surprised to hear anyone claim this as their favorite track off the album. 2
Track 6: Fire and the Thud
At this point in the album, I realized all the songs were blending together to me, just because they all sounded so similar. It seems like they’re attempting to be more melodic on this track, and to me, that’s just not Arctic Monkeys style. 2
Track 7: Cornerstone
“Cornerstone” is a pretty decent track. The lyrics are nice, although the music gets a bit repetitive. The guitar solo is nice, though. I’d have to say it’s the best song on the second half of the album, which is really weak, in my opinion. 3
Track 8: Dance Little Liar
The percussion in this track is quite good. The first part of this track is good example of what I meant by the whole “heavy but not aggressive” thing. While it’s clearly pretty heavy, it’s more melodic than I’m used to hearing from this group. I don’t approve. Around the bridge it gets more aggressive, but the song is still a throwaway. 2
Track 9: Pretty Visitors
Finally, in the next to last track on the album, it’s a sound more like what we’re used to. The heavy, aggressive, well-spoken Arctic Monkeys. Sadly, that doesn’t even last a minute and a half. For most of the last half of the song we get to hear heavy, slow garbage again. 2
Track 10: The Jeweller’s Hands
The beginning of this song is really cool, and I thought I was going to like it a lot, but then it started to drag on and on. This song is almost six minutes long, but I’m sure it could’ve been cut down to closer to four without any harm done. A fitting ending, though. 2½
Originally, I was really psyched to hear this album, and I was pretty excited when my roommate burned me a copy of it. After listening to it, I was disappointed. Humbug didn’t live up to my expectations, and I’m glad I didn’t buy it. I wouldn’t be willing to pay more than five dollars for this album. The tracks pretty much blend together, and the sound – while clearly containing some Arctic Monkeys elements – is overall something different from the previous albums. It’s nice to see they tried to do something different, but I think it ended up being a total miss, not to mention it’s completely overhyped.