Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys

Sarah describes one of her favourite albums as like a dream. Artwork by Sarah

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I bought this album when I was 14, when the Arctic was really just some band that had two songs that I would shake to like I was possessed. I have vague memories of losing myself to Brianstorm and shrieking along to This House is a Circus. Yet it was only recently when I found it tucked away in my iTunes library that I think I really sat and listened to it. And it was like 4 years hadn’t really passed at all.

Somewhere in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy, Meggie’s father Mo says something about books being a time capsule for memories. When you reread a passage, you remember the ice cream you were eating, the people you were with, the sun beaming down onto you when you first traced those words in your mind. I’d like to think that music is similar in this regard.

The thundering bass, Alex Turner’s delicious vocals and the heavy beat of the drums all combine to create a cynical and gloomy soundtrack for my early adolescence. It is perfection.

From the opening musical storm that is Brianstorm’s introduction sequence, to the finishing distant and drifting 505, you as the listener are tussled about in what initially appears to be a delicious embodiment of the album’s name. It’s dark, mean, fast and grimy; with a dense bassline that you could full frontally sink into, teeth and soul first. The lyrics speak of desperation and lust and it’s all just so fiercely brilliant. Intensity is what is up, with Alex softly crooning away at you one moment and the next almost growling maniacally.

It’s not all tough shit however, with lighter songs offering almost comical relief (Fluorescent Adolescent) and tenderness (Only Ones Who Know). Perhaps it’s these tracks along with other little touches that lend the whole compilation a feeling of sincerity. It’s never too contemptuous or demanding of its audience. Favourite Worst Nightmare is multi-faceted; it’s provocative yet genuine, callous yet gentle, cold yet passionate.

To me, this album is the sound of cool. Ruthless and shockingly gripping; the taste of it has lingered and will continue to do so. It will refuse to completely fade, even if it only echoes, reverberating with a piece of my fourteen year old self there in the corner, furiously shaking her way through.


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