Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monkey's Business 

Demonstrating the sort of lyrical genius for which they've been revered in such hip and exciting publications as Q, Uncut, and Q, again, the Arctic Monkeys open new single Brianstorm - do you see what they did there? - with the lines "Brian/Top marks for not tryin'", a sentiment which can easily be applied to the band themselves. The last time such a lazy and dull couplet appeared in music it was in Paul Simon's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover which, like the Monkeys' output, leaves the listener shortchanged by supplying only five ways to do so, all of which are based entirely on the 'rhyming with your first name' concept. "Slip out the back, Jack", for example, or "Hop on the bus, Gus". "Sleep with her sister, Lister", and "Tell her you're gay, Ray" are presumably only availiable on the 12" version.

We've had the misfortune of hearing their second album and can report that it's a concept album with each song opening with a similar lyrical conceit. Here's what you have to look forward to being pumped out constantly by Virgin Radio like a toilet in reverse:-

Steven/You should stop thieving
Here lead singer Alex Turner tells the tale of Steven, a local character from his home town of Sheffield. He indulges in petty crime and Alex reckons that he'd be better off if he turned his back on such immoral pursuits and got a job, or maybe even formed a band. This shows the sharp focus of Alex's wit, which constantly throws lights on areas of society which are normally ignored, providing us with sparkling insight, much in the manner of When The Sun Goes Down, which postulated the earth shattering concept that some places aren't very nice to hang around when it's dark.

Michael/He owned a cycle
The tale of Michael, a local character from Alex's home town of Sheffield. As a lad Michael owned a BMX and rode it everywhere he went, but as he grew up, he left his bike behind and tended more towards driving a car instead. Or possibly getting the bus. "It's a slice of life!", says Alex of it, cheerfully, and also provides the band's fans with the sort of banal slop to which they've become accustomed.

Jermaine/He flew an airplane
A misjudged attempted to cash in on Scooch's success. Though the band already have their stewardess uniforms ready, seeing the success of their Brit Awards acceptence speeches as encouragement to continue with their ploy of dressing up in ridiculous costumes as a substitute to having a personality.

Phillip/You're such a pillock
Continuing on with the controversial views and opinions that keep their fans hanging on like so many sloths to a tree, this political song offers up for debate the possibility that Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, might not exactly be a fine and upstanding citizen. In both their music and their lyrics, the Monkeys really love to challenge their fans.

Alex/Your songs are bollocks
Well, a bit of self awareness never hurt anybody.