it was an album that took a bunch of sheffield lads and their mop head haircuts to the headline stage of Glastonbury. it was an album that defined a generation. it was an album that had rival bands dropping their spliffs and heading straight to the recording studio to try and beat it. it was the year 2007 and it was the album Favourite Worst Nightmare
2006 marked the year of the arctic monkeys, having released their debut album whatever people say i am, that’s what i’m not in january, the band dominated the UK charts, their debut album being the fastest selling album in british music history.
wanting to make the music industry know they weren’t planning on moving on any time soon, alex turner and co hit the recording studio in december that year to record what would become a double platinum, 900,000 record sales and brit award winning album.
released on 23rd april 2007, the second album by arctic monkeys went straight to number 1 in the uk charts, suppressing the debut album’s time in the limelight. this was a new sound and a new style that would shake the music world. favourite worst nightmare unlike many follow up albums was applauded by critics across the music industry, appreciated by millions and giving a massive middle finger up to all those who thought the band would be a one album wonder. enough with the facts and what the critics said, lets celebrate the 10 year birthday of the album that defined 2007.
track one titled ‘brianstorm’ literally wakes the ears as though alex turner is shouting wake the fuck up this is the new sound. its fast, aggressive sound puts up a front for the album, it wasn’t an album to be taken lightly. its brisk drum track and vigorous guitar rhythm replaced the need for a chorus. the punk, antagonistic sound is carried throughout the album in tracks like ‘Balaclava’, ‘Old Yellow Bricks’ and ‘If You Were There, Beware’. its in these tracks, evidently ‘If You Were There, Beware’ that fans could hear snippets of later arctics sound conquests like the surf rock sound of the verse.
the beauty of this album was that the band weren’t afraid to mix the anarchy, violent noise with heartfelt and emotional tunes. ‘only ones who know’ is the stand out track on the album that shows how alex turner has a romantic, poetic side juxtaposed to his bouncer hating adolescent front. as turner sings ‘true romance can’t be achieved these days’ you can hear his heartfelt voice, the song pushes the aggressive bank of songs to one side, letting the wordsmith captive the ears of the millions of people who listened to and will listen to the song in the future. ‘505’ ends the album and like any album should, it gave meaning to the album. angsty teen sounds aside, ‘505’ supposedly written about something or someone that keeps you alive but is killing you inside, added a great deal of meaning to the album. it was one of few songs on the album to have a deeper meaning connected towards it, something that showed alex turner’s emotional side and that he wasn’t afraid to show his feelings in his songs.
but why praise FWN? loads of albums turn 10 this year why is this so special? the simple answer is because it showed progression in a band who didn’t really need to prove how fucking class they were anyway. FWN mixed passive sounds with ardent lyrics, it provided classic guitar riffs and it’s live performances became notable and history making.
Words by Brigid Harrison-Draper