How Arctic Monkeys have stood the test of time
Back in 2002, the world was introduced to a young group of musicians called Arctic Monkeys. At the time, they were little more than just another hungry band in the world of indie rock.
Before long, they were the ones leading the charge, calling the shots, and dominating the music industry.
But how did it happen? Why are Arctic Monkeys one of the most successful indie-rock acts of all time? And how exactly have they stood the test of time?
With the Sheffield rockers making their way to Australia for a long-awaited headline tour next year, we’ve decided to answer those questions. But to do so, we might need to go back to where it all began.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘When The Sun Goes Down’:
In 2002, the world of rock music was going through a rather exciting period. Bands such as The Strokes, The Vines, The White Stripes, and The Hives were making guitar rock cool again, and proving that charismatic frontmen were no longer a thing of the past.
Inspired by this new wave of garage rockers, a group of young musicians from Sheffield decided to form a band, and by June of 2003, Arctic Monkeys had performed their first show.
Before long, the band were recording their first demos and giving them away to fans via burnt CDs. Owing to the rising presence of online social media, fans soon began to share these demos, making Arctic Monkeys one of the first bands to become popular due to the Internet.
By May of 2005, the group had recorded their first EP, Five Minutes with Arctic Monkeys, and fans were lapping up their exciting new sound.
By the end of the year, the group had released their debut single ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, and they were well on their way to stardom.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’:
In January of 2006, Arctic Monkeys released their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, giving the global public a taste of their rambunctious, catchy tunes.
A smash hit on release, the record quickly became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history, selling more than 360,000 copies in just a week.
With the record topping charts around the world, the group embarked on a world tour, making their first trip to Australia in August of 2006, and treating their loyal local fans to a series of stunning gigs.
Before long, they were back in the studio, laying down tracks for their follow-up record, Favourite Worst Nightmare.
Proving that their success was hardly a fluke, their second record performed even better than their debut on the charts, despite some fans criticising a notable change in sound.
As the next few years progressed, Arctic Monkeys made a habit of touring the world and releasing records, with 2009’s Humbug and 2011’s Suck It And See continuing their chart domination.
By this point, the band had made a name for themselves as one of the most consistently-successful UK rock bands going around. But really, this was just the beginning.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Do I Wanna Know?’:
In September of 2013, just over a decade since Arctic Monkeys had played their first live show, the group released the stunning AM.
Recorded in Los Angeles over the space of a year, the record was an absolute sensation, with the group turning their back on their garage-rock roots somewhat in favour of a slinky mixture of blues, soul, psych-rock, and elements of hip-hop.
Lead single ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ gave fans an idea of what was to come. A smoky, bluesy riff at the forefront of the track was accompanied by a mesmerising music video.
It became one of the group’s most popular tracks, resonating with fans around the world, and giving the leather jacket-wearing Arctic Monkeys their highest position in the triple j Hottest 100 at #4.
With AM serving as Arctic Monkeys’ American breakthrough, and with the group breaking chart records back home, they were unstoppable. Sold-out tours followed, as did an increasingly growing fanbase, proving that another change in style was what the band were needing to ensure their continuation of world domination.
To date, AM is considered one of the greatest records of all-time, one of the most popular of the 2010s, and is one of the best-selling vinyl albums of the decade. Throw all those facts together, and you’ve got a band who are undoubtedly the very definition of success.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’:
In the years following AM‘s release, Arctic Monkeys decided to take things a bit slower. Following an Aussie tour (which also saw frontman Alex Turner deliver a stunning Tame Impala cover for Like A Version), the band decided to go on a bit of a hiatus to allow its members to work on some other projects.
While Alex Turner reunited with Miles Kane for another record by The Last Shadow Puppets, drummer Matt Helders teamed up with Iggy Pop. However, their fans never stopped holding out for another record from the iconic indie-rockers.
By the end of 2016, finally, the hiatus was over, and the group were back in the studio. Over the next year, they were hard at work on the new record, eventually giving fans sporadic clues about when the new album would arrive.
Then, following their first live shows in four years, Arctic Monkeys unleashed their latest record, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.
Their sixth consecutive UK number one, the album again topped charts around the world, becoming another highlight of an already impressive career.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Star Treatment’:
With a sound that showcased elements of glam rock, lounge music, pop, and psychedelia, the new record was again a stylistic change for the group. While the album opens with the famous line, “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes,” the sound was far removed from the group’s early days as frenetic garage-rockers, yet it was no less immersive and intriguing.
While some of Arctic Monkeys’ hometown fanbase jokingly teased Alex Turner about his new Hollywood lifestyle, the band kicked off a US tour, delivering their new sounds to an endless sea of eager fans.
As Turner shaved his head to signify a brand new look, the group also began to throw in a series of impressive covers at their shows, dropping tunes by the likes of The White Stripes, and – of course – The Strokes.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’:
Of course, the question remains; just how have the Arctic Monkeys stood the test of time? Well, once you look back over their illustrious career, it becomes rather obvious.
Back when they released the video for their debut single, ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’, Alex Turner kicked things off with a simple command; “don’t believe the hype”.
Since then, the band have been intent on simply doing things their own way, never bowing to outside pressure, or letting the perils of success get to them.
While they may have initially been met with criticism from fans as they began to change up their sound with each record, they’ve continued to flourish, proving that every stylistic change was a natural, organic one – never done with the intent of alienating their fanbase.
A listen through their discography gives fans a chance to witness a true musical evolution, but the band’s modus operandi has remained consistent: giving fans hit after hit, and backing it up with consistently powerful and immersive live performances.
Most importantly though, Arctic Monkeys have stood the test of time based solely on their impeccable musicianship, and their ability to craft some amazing songs. Most bands would dream of a discography as varied and consistently-acclaimed as Arctic Monkeys’, but for the Sheffield rockers, it’s all in a day’s work.
Take a listen to Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and you’ll hear a hungry young band, eager to take their rockin’ sounds to the world. Back that up with a listen to Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino and you’ll be taken on a journey through a series of eclectic musical soundscapes.
But at every turn, you’ll be treated to a band whose music continues to impress – and that’s not something you’ll find just anywhere.
Check out Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Four Out Of Five’:
Arctic Monkeys Australian Tour 2019
Saturday, February 23rd
RAC Arena, Perth, WA
Tuesday, February 26th
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Friday, March 1st
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, NSW
Sunday, March 3rd
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, QLD
Telstra Thanks® pre-sale
Pre-sale start: Tuesday, October 30th from 10am local time
Pre-sale ends: Thursday, November 1st, 10 am local time