Exetera’s Thoughts on the Arctic Monkeys

With an almost completely new team behind the reigns at Exetera this year, we realised that within all the hours of editing and discussing ideas there has been very little this team of eight has managed to butt heads over. Upon revision, we’ve thought this needs a change. So, in the hopes we might get all the disagreeing out of our system before the workload really kicks off (quick reminder to get writing for the upcoming ‘plastic’ magazine edition guys), we thought we’d lean on a divisive topic that a group of artistically-minded people can always draw lines between each other with- the Arctic Monkeys. Here’s what the team had to say.

Iida:

Truthfully, I no longer know how I feel about the Arctic Monkeys. They’re not a band whose music I would voluntarily play… anymore. I have to admit I was one of the teenage girls that would listen to Fluorescent Adolescent and dream about marrying Alex Turner (to this day I admit he’s hot stuff, but now I see him as a living, breathing human being rather than as the epitome of coolness in a leather jacket). I still appreciate some Arctic Monkeys songs out of pure nostalgia, but they’re just not the bee’s knees anymore. They’re the perfect band to start with when you’re a budding youth wanting to listen to something other than basic pop from the top hit lists – you get a taste of, well, aaalright music with the prospects of upgrading to a more refined rock music scene once you’re ready to let go of your teen angst.

Bethany:

Inoffensive, monotonous, what I’d expect from a pre-pubescent in a leather jacket prancing half-heartedly and purposefully nonchalantly on stage for the wry applause of black-clad fan-girls who thought they were listening to ‘rock’. I only knew about Alex Turner through his ex, Alexa Chung’s killer Instagram account and high cheekbones, and a few trips to google and YouTube when I couldn’t sleep (perhaps because I’d had three espressos in the space of one evening). The music does little for me – it neither grates nor arouses some great desire to listen to the same song over and over ‘til it wears thin and acquires its own meaning. Listening to the Arctic Monkeys is like being stuck on a plateau, a level ground, working a 9-5 job: it’s what happens in the in-between spaces. I’d never found the lyrics ringing through my head in an enervating thrum, nor queued an album so I could listen to it the whole way through and melt into it. I grew up on Iron Maiden, Slipknot (before they sucked), Mastodon and death metal – but I moved from wanting dead sound to real feeling, I want music to move me. Arctic Monkeys never had that ability, but perhaps I ask too much.

Kye:

Great songwriters, and have proved to be in the attempts by rock to continue some kind of relationship with the commercial market in the 21st century. Still, beyond will always be The Strokes, or Wes Anderson.

Abbie:

I like the old Arctic Monkeys. I mean, I don’t skip them when they come on my Spotify, but I wouldn’t pay to see them in concert either. But their most recent album (essentially just 11 versions of the same song) shows that they’ve clearly lost the star quality they once had. Their stereotype of attracting wannabe indie teenagers was maybe once just a light-hearted joke, reflected by the broadness of their fan base, but now judging by the audiences at their concerts, doesn’t seem to be as much of a joke anymore. I’m not saying they’re awful by any means – I think everyone will always have an appreciation for the intro of ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ – but their new music shows they’re definitely not the band they once were. Maybe in the future they’ll return to the excitement their music once brought, but for now it seems mediocrity will be their peak.

Alfie:

Arctic Monkeys = Actually Meh.

Matt:

In the dazzling beginnings of their career, Artic Monkeys were musical straddlers, occupying that rare, much envied middle ground between popular appeal and critical acclaim. It was hardly a polarising opinion to like the Arctic Monkeys in the early days, and they played an important role in sparking the imaginations of an entire generation of young British rock bands in the late noughties/early twenty-tens. When I attended an inter-college “Battle of the Bands” in 2014, it was safe to say that every band (mine included) had snuck an Arctic Monkeys cover into their setlists, with the ubiquitous ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ cropping up in multiple sets: much to the embarrassment of the bands involved.

However, in the music scene of today, the content put out by the Arctic Monkeys doesn’t retain the same urgency that it once did, and the rock sound of The Strokes that the band self-consciously leads from is no longer the sound of the music listened to by contemporary youths. I was never an Arctic Monkeys acolyte, so I can make no claim of falling out of love with a band I never had strong feelings for in the first place, but with the advent of their less-than-inspiring new album, I can’t see myself ever really taking much of an interest in what Arctic Monkeys have left to offer.

That said, it is no easy thing for a new rock band to reach such heights in 21st century without significant fusion with pop or other popular genres, so the band certainly have my respect for getting where they have. I would also pose that it is very easy to take a strong stance against a band that is no longer in vogue, so I try not to subscribe to the free-for-all attack on the Monkeys that is the un-polarising opinion of today. I just don’t want to listen to their music, and I likely never will again.

Invoice me for the microphone if you need to.

Final note:

Turns out they’re not as divisive as we thought they might be.