Classics Revisited: Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Say I Am...

We take a look at the classic debut from one of the best bands to ever come from Yorkshire.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 13th Sep 2022

Arctic Monkeys are set to release their new album The Car on October 21st and there's already so much hype online about it. They've become one of the biggest bands in the world and it all started in 2006 with an album called Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

Released on Domino Records, Arctic Monkeys' debut album was an indie rock hit that made them the biggest UK band since Oasis, with them also riding a wave of brilliant guitar music that had come out of New York a few years earlier and featured bands such as The Strokes

On Whatever People Say I Am, Alex Turner and co captured something very specific, early 00's Sheffield youth culture, with the dodgy bouncers, the scenes on every other street and trying to get lucky. Out of it, Alex Turner crafted a perfect screenshot of his current surroundings and immortalised it forever.

Out of the album came anthems such as I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, one of the band's most iconic tracks that helped to lay a blueprint for what British indie would sound like for years to come, which can be said for the whole record. Arctic Monkeys started out just as what we now call "indie landfill". 

If you're not familiar, it basically refers to a period of British indie music from the early 00's to the early 2010's where a bunch of bands inspired by the success of The Strokes, The Libertines and Bloc Party sprang up and sounded vaguely similar. Arctic Monkeys never fell into the same trap.

One of the main reasons is that of Turner's lyricism, with him having the ability to translate his surroundings into something exciting, turning what we may consider to be some of the grim or mundane aspects of our daily teenage life into something oddly beautiful. Each protagonist you hear from on this album, you'd want to follow them all night long.

A Certain Romance and From The Ritz To The Rubble could equally claim to be the greatest Arctic Monkeys song of their career. The former is a track that ponders the romance of outgrowing your hometown in an increasingly emotional track that doesn't rely on hooks to draw you in but a slow release of tension throughout.

One of the most famous aspects of Whatever People Say I Am is the way in which it capitalised on online buzz in a time where music on the internet was only just taking off. Arctic Monkeys were one of the first MySpace bands after their demos have been circulating around Sheffield and as the internet offered an outlet far beyond their home city, by the time the album was released they already had a staggering amount of fans. 

Whatever People Say I Am is not simply an album full of festival anthems and soaring riffs for you to lose your mind to in a field. It's an audio portrait of British youth culture through a proudly Yorkshire lens. It was also the starting point for one of the most iconic British bands of the present day, who may have moved on to more adventurous territory but they'll never forget where they came from.



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