Classic Album Review: Arctic Monkeys – Humbug

This is without doubt the album that changed my life. It is my favourite album. EVER. Despite being turned on to Arctic Monkeys when I was 14 when I was handed a demo CD in my English lesson, it wasn’t until their third album, Humbug, until they established themselves in my mind as one of the best bands around. The album materialised after the Monkeys took a small hiatus whilst front man Alex Turner embarked on a side-project featuring then current Rascal, Miles Kane. In every bands lifetime, I always say that they will record at least one ‘death’ album. This is an album that is darker, more experimental and largely unpopular with the masses. And this is what ‘Humbug’ was, not receiving mass critical acclaim like their previous efforts and evidently dividing opinion.

Recorded in the desert with a certain Mr Joshua Homme, the band took a break from the charming British sound that had shot them to fame in the preceding years to adopt a Californian sound, a dark “stoner rock” alternative sound that shines through on tracks such as ‘Crying Lightning’ and ‘The Jeweller’s Hands’. However lyrically, the album speaks in metaphors and riddles though such proclamations as ‘My Propeller, won’t spin and I can’t get it started on my own’ or the enigma that is ‘Potion Approaching’. The lyrics also spell out an obsession with someone displayed through ‘Dangerous Animals’ which explicitly spells out the thrill of the chase before a relationship. There is room for an unhealthy stalker-ish obsession during the sombre ‘Cornerstone’.

The highlights of the album have to be the lead single ‘Crying Lightning’ which introduced us to the darker side of the Monkeys’ personalities as well as the unbelievably smart ‘Dance Little Liar’ and the heart wrenching ‘Fire and the Thud’.

The View From The Music is….10/10 – The album is wholly brilliant. It introduced us to another side of the band that we have craved ever since. In our opinion it is better than its predecessors and follow up ‘Suck It And See’.

Check out their superb Web Transmission they released prior to the album:


The View From The Music.xx

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Which Of Our Favourite Albums Should We Review Next?

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The View From The Music. xx

Classic Album Review: The Strokes – Is This It

The Strokes debut album ‘Is This It’ came out way back in 2001 and to this day is considered one of the greatest debut albums of all time and we would consider it somewhat genre defining. Renowned for its garage sound, the album has spawned many bands such as Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines to site it as a key influence within their music. The album was released on RCA Records and was met with a mass of critical acclaim, worldwide. Since then The Strokes have released 3 other successful albums and will hopefully continue to do so into the future!

Despite the album being pretty alternative compared to the music scene at the time, it burst onto the mainstream and The Strokes became one of the biggest bands in the world as a result.

‘Is This It’ is everything great about rock music in one album. Theres whining solo’s, bass-laden riffs, pounding drums and Julian Casablancas’ frighteningly sexy voice filled with attitude and emotion make this album an instant classic. There are moments were you want to dance around and sing-a-long like a person possessed like during cult hit ‘Last Nite’ and there are moments were you just want to grab the nearest person and give them a hug like during album opener ‘Is This It’. Lyrically, much akin to Arctic Monkeys debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’, the band sing about what it is like to live in the modern world through tracks such as ‘The Modern Age’ and ‘Barely Legal’ which talks about a girl that has just reached the age of consent.

Two tracks that we particularly enjoy off of the album, are the romantic and swooning ‘Someday’ that takes you on an emotional roller coaster itself by claiming that “we’ll miss the good old days” and reminisces about being young. Our other favourite is album closer ‘Take It Or Leave It’.

Despite the album being 11 years old, we are satisfied that it has the shelf life to please many a generation to come!

Did you know? – That in the North American version of the album the song ‘New York City Cops’, where Julian claims the NYPD “ain’t to smart”, was replaced after the 9/11 attacks because the band believed that the police performed well!

And a big thank you to Abigail for choosing this album for us to review, follow her on the Twitter @fiveohfive

The View From The Music… 9/10

Comments welcomed and appreciated!


The View From The Music

Choose Which Classic Album We Review Next!

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Please Tweet, Email or Comment below with your favourite album and the one with the most votes, we will review!

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The View From The Music. xx

White Stripes – White Blood Cells


The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001)

White Blood Cells is the third studio album from the White Stripes and after its re-release on major label V2 records the album shot to critical acclaim in the music world. Despite being recorded in just one week and produced by frontman Jack White, it is a truly great album and no wonder it is featured in many authors lists as one of the best albums of the naughties and even of all time.

Their debut album and De Stijl had set the White Stripes up to have a blues/punk fusion sound, which White Blood Cells completely disregards and sets itself up to be a primitive garage rock and roll record, simple yet oh so effective. The album set the band up to burst onto the mainstream scene with Elephant in 2003.

Lyrically the album takes us on a journey of falling in love, being betrayed and depths of secluded paranoia. White’s lyrics lay it all on the line while he makes his guitar roar like a pack of lions and Meg smashes her drums like a party at a Greek restaurant which culminates in the adrenaline fuelled classic Fell In Love With a Girl. Generally the album follows within a heavy and dark pattern which is outlined in the gritty opener Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground which even eleven years later still blows me away every time.

Despite The album leaning towards the darker reaches of love, loss and betrayal, the popular song We’re Going To Be Friends harks back to refreshing memories of our childhood. It will encourage that lump in your throat to make itself known and make you beam a smile as bright as the the Bat-signal whilst you remember the teacher marking your height against the wall and being inseparable from those very first friends you made, ahh the simple life!

It’s a great album, I know it’s old but we’ve been listening to it a lot lately and wanted to share our thoughts with you and encourage you to delve back and visit it.

The View From The Music is… 9/10

FACT: The lyrics for track seven, The Union Forever, allude to the classic film Citizen Kane which is said to be Jack White’s favourite film and most of the song is almost direct quotation from the film itself!

Comments welcomed and appreciated!
The View From The Music