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Spin #15 : Arctic Monkeys : Favourite Worst Nightmare

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

Band Members : Alex Turner (Lead vocals, guitar,keyboard), Nick O'Malley (Bass guitar, backing vocals), Jamie Cook (guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Helders (drums, backing vocals)




Arctic Monkeys : Favourite Worst Nightmare Year Released : 2007 Produced by James Ford and Mike Crossey Label: Domino Recording Co Price Range: $50AUD+ Speed: 33 1/3 RPM Album Before : Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006) Album After : Humbug (2009) Further Listening : Konk - The Kooks LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: This one has a lot of life and easily picks up your spirits with their clever lyrics and flawless production. If you enjoy singing along and not caring how you sound, then this is the album for you. Track Listing:

LP Side A

Brianstorm - 2:52

Teddy Picker - 2:40

D Is For Dangerous - 2:14

Balaclava - 2:47

Fluorescent Adolescent - 2:53

Only Ones Who Know - 3:01

Side B Do Me A Favour - 3:25

This House Is A Circus - 3:09

If You Were There, Beware - 4:34

The Bad Thing - 2:23

Old Yellow Bricks - 3:07

505 - 4:13

What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x black heavyweight LP and download code. There is a booklet with an excerpt , and track listing/record information. The cover shows a building with graffiti artwork in the windows. Pretty minimal but doesn't take anything away from the overall product.

"Running off over next doors garden before the hour is done. It's more a question of feeling than it is a question of fun. The confidence is the balaclava, I'm sure you'll baffle 'em good. With the ending wreek of salty cheeks and runny makeup alone" ~ Balaclava - Side A

Welcome to Spin #15 - Arctic Monkeys : Favourite Worst Nightmare

Please make yourself comfortable for Spin #15 and take some much needed R'nR after another busy week. It's the boys from Sheffield this week and their second album 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'. The 'Arctic Monkeys' had just come off the success of having the fastest selling debut album in UK history with 'Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not'. Instead of taking some time and have some R'nR themselves, they put out the hugely successful second record the following year with hit after hit.


I hope that I get the opportunity to see the 'Arctic Monkeys' live and we just missed out seeing them whilst they were touring their 'Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino' album.


For this Spin I have chosen to listen in the front room on the Audio Technica turntable (LP60XBT) and the Marshall Woburn II speaker. As the weather starts to get a lot colder here on the East coast of Australia, I get to listen in our front sun room and soak up some much needed late afternoon sun. It is so relaxing and Night Kat and I have made a cuppa in our 'R'nR with Rylo' mugs as we are now ready to spin.

 

Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):

The tonearm moves across to the outer groove and drops the stylus on the first track from 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'. The sound of 'Brianstorm' comes blasting through with the distortion pedals and guitars of Turner and Cook. I've noticed that the bass is quite clear on this pressing by O'Malley, who plays for the first time on an 'Arctic Monkeys' record. Of course the ever reliable Helders on the kit provides another masterclass. At first glance you might think this song is called Brainstorm and that I have spelled the title incorrectly before but you would be wrong.


The story behind this one is about a fan of the band called Brian who managed to talk himself into getting backstage at a gig in Japan. The band were so haunted by this character that it inspired them to have brainstorm of ideas for the upcoming album. Therefore they had a Brian-storm. "'Cause we can't take our eyes off the t-shirt and ties combination? Well, see you later, innovator".


The song is a well moulded indie classic and was a big single from this album. It sets the tone of the album up by saying, "We are Arctic Monkeys and we are the biggest thing happening right now". On first listen I was instantly hooked by the music and the lyrics of Turner.


Speaking of lyrics about weird and wonderful characters, the second song on the album is the bass heavy jam, 'Teddy picker'. It gets it's inspiration from various people the band have met over the years that are quite odd. I found out that the title is referring to the claw machines that are used to collect teddy bears at places like 'Timezone' or arcades. The drum intro from Helders gets you in the groove before the rhythm /bass guitars pair well with Turners vocals. It is a slower track compared to the first song but has some very witty lyrics - "Let's have a game on the Teddy Picker, not quick enough, can I have it quicker? Already thick and you're getting thicker. Presuming that all things are equal. Who'd want to be men of the people...when there's people like you?".


I remember during my studies long ago that I was tested on touch typing on the computer and we had to place a tea-towel over our hands so we couldn't look down at the letters/numbers/symbols whilst typing. They allowed us to put on headphones and this was my typing album, so I know the lyrics well. As soon as I put on the music I would get into a typing zone. I find myself putting on the British accent to sing these songs, which makes it a fun one to sing along with. Let me know which track you feel is the one that makes you sing out loud in the comments below.


'D Is For Dangerous' mentions the album name but isn't the title track which is interesting. I like the start of this one because the band really all get involved with backing vocals and becomes a Turner / band back and forth. Another interesting thing about this track is the chorus actually says 'D is for delightful'. It's such a high tempo, upbeat track that really showcases the drumming and intricacies of the bands music craft. "He's nearin' the brink but he thinks first, the parallel universe perhaps could be the perfect scene".


The song ends and rolls nicely into the cheeky 'Balaclava'. I love the lyrics on this song and you'll realise I chose some of them to be the featured lyrics above. The theme of the song isn't the best because it's talking about wearing a balaclava in order to have affairs but the song is catchy. The ending of the song has its own identity with the change of sound as Turner sings, "She pleaded with you to take if off but you resisted and fought. But sorry, sweetheart, I'd much rather keep on the balaclava". The pacing and delivery of that final lyric ties the track up before the next song starts. Make sure that you listen along to this one as you follow the words above to get the right impact. Next song on Side A and probably the biggest single off the album, 'Fluorescent Adolescent'.


'Fluorescent Adolescent' lyrics were written by Turner and his girlfriend at the time in a hotel room during their holiday. They had a bit of fun but it's a rare song that isn't written solely by Turner. It has two completely opposing sounds throughout the song as the drums have its own path and the guitars have theirs. There is such a contrast between them that if you isolated the instruments on a mixing board, you wouldn't think that they were part of the same song. Somehow it all goes together to give the band one of their biggest songs to date. Similar to The Beatles track 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' in the sense that there is a upbeat happiness with one instrument and a complete sadness with another. A lyric that stuck with me when I first heard this track was "Everything's in order in a black hole". Then we get to the last song on Side A, 'Only Ones Who Know'.


As we wrap up Side A, the pace of this song is drastically different compared to the previous tracks. It has an ethereal feeling and showcases Turner on the keyboard (something he will later build upon throughout other albums with keyboard/piano). I think that this one slows down the listener's journey and allows time to ponder. Something a lot of people don't get the chance to do in todays busy world. There is a worthy cover by Adam Martin on you tube that you can check out here. The tone arm hits the dead wax and goes back to the cradle, telling me that it's time to flip the LP for Side B.


Night Kat Kiz and I quickly finish our cuppas before making another one before hitting the play button on Side B. Still slowly picking up the mood again after the slower 'Only Ones Who Know' is the live favourite, 'Do Me A Favour'. I've seen this one played live online at a slower pace than the recorded version. It seems to work well on both levels and feels as if the 'Arctic Monkeys' are building you back up and preparing you for the next few songs. The lyrics of "Do me a favour and ask if you need some help. She said "Do me a favour and stop flattering yourself", really stuck with me all those years ago. I like the distortion of the guitars at the end of this track and there is hardly any dead wax between this and the second song on Side B, 'This House Is A Circus'.


Making use of heavier sounding guitar chords and unconventional song structure, the band have provided a unique sound on this one. Helders is hitting the kit hard on this one towards the end and probably needed to replace a few toms, snares and cymbals after recording it. I'm not sure what side of the LP I prefer as I find myself coming back to the album as a whole, rather than only a particular song. What has been your favourite side so far? I like the lyric on this one - explicit warning - "This house is a circus, berserk as fuck. We tend to see that as a perk, though. Look what it's done to your friends, their memories are pretend and the last thing that they want is for the feeling to end".


I know that the next song, 'If You Were There, Beware' is directed at the media and their pursuit of the band and friends/family. Turner doesn't have any social media and is quite a private person. For an 'Arctic Monkeys' track there is a certain venom and heaviness to this sound. I'm obviously not talking about heavy as in 'BEHEMOTH' but you know what I mean. The instrumental breaks between the bridge of the song and outro will show you exactly what I mean. I like the ending and the use of vocal effects when Turner sings - "There's a circle of witches, ambitiously vicious they are and our attempts to remind them of reason won't get us that far". I think this is my favourite track for the guitar work.


One song that has NEVER been played live is the fast paced, 'The Bad Thing'. It has Turner at his fast talking best and is talking about a flirtatious girl from the view of a boy. You can feel the band getting really into this one and it's such a shame that they have not felt the need to play this one to the masses live. It's a short song that leads into the second last song on the album, 'Old Yellow Bricks'. You hear the sound of Helder's sticks hitting together to count them in and then ascending guitar chords build in before the vocals hit. It's simple but highly effective and lyrically gives a nod to the classic film, 'Wizard of OZ'. I like the lyrics because it gives us as listeners a lot to ponder on - some of the best songs provide questions and not answers. They make you think long and hard, well after the music has stopped. "Who wants to sleep in a city that never wakes up? ......but Dorothy was right though".


Sadly, we are at the end of the spin and the last song, '505' starts playing. Similar to the end of Side A, the song sounds softer in parts. I like the western style sound layered on this one and it comes through the system so crisply. I guess this song can relate to everyone because really its about travelling to '505' to recapture a feeling or moment in time. I think our children would have loved this album and I will have to spin again for them in the future. The most powerful part of the song '505' would be where Turner belts out the lyrics, "But I crumble completely when you cry". It reminds me of when our children are upset and you feel helpless sometimes because all you want to do is hug them and take their troubles away.


The boys from Sheffield had superstardom thrust upon them in a short period of time but they have handled it well. We really hope that you enjoyed this week's Spin #15 by 'Arctic Monkeys'. This album, 'Favourite Worst Nightmare', has a special place in my life and I hope that it can give new listeners and return listeners as much enjoyment as it gives to me. If you get a chance, check out their live record which was record at the Royal Albert Hall - you won't be disappointed.


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Until our next Spin, be Kind to people from Sheffield and be Kind to your Wax!