Looking Good On The Dancefloor?
Arctic Monkeys and the Power of Hype
The Arctic Monkeys, so we are told, are the next 'great British band', successors to the Smiths and Libertines, on track to be bigger than Oasis, and number one in the charts… Except for - and I'm sure I'm not the only one here - I'm really not buying it.
Yes, 'I bet you look good on the Dancefloor' sounds alright, it's fun, it's upbeat, and the lyric is a lot darker then you might expect, but really where is this parallel with these great bands of the past?
Comparing the Arctic Monkeys to the Libertines is like comparing Placebo to the Manics. Both bands may 'sound' like they are from the same genre, but that's where the similarity ends. Whereas Pete and Nicky aren't afraid to point their listeners to something more, Alex's lyrics never really move beyond observation. It's a case of style over substance. Even listening to the Arctic Monkeys is a frustrating experience, the music is from 4 years ago, and the lyrics really don't do anything other then regurgitate the same themes that 'pop' is so often criticised for obsessing with. I just don't think the Artic Monkeys actually try and say anything.
Yet, still, there will be those who rush to their defence, "you don't understand, they've had this really natural Internet fuelled growth" and "Alex isn't going to fuck up on us" are the most popular claims. But all of these points fall flat.. My Chemical Romance, The Editors, and many other bands have broken through using the internet and file sharing. The Arctic Monkeys aren't unique because of it, and it's not even as if they created their own 'fan community' - most of this seems to have happened via libertines.org, and even then, no one was particularly fussed until the music industry (hello Conner McNicholas) decided to pick up on it.
But still, the popular perception is that the Arctic monkeys are a 'against the odds underground success story' - and I suppose you cant blame the fans for thinking this. Every aspect of the Monkeys' marketing seems geared towards creating this perception: the bootleg style video promo, the lo-fi production on the single, but its all just image.
If you want an example of a band who became huge in spite of, and not because, of the music industry, listen to The Darkness!
And as for the whole 'but Pete has lost it' argument, well I'm not convinced. 'The Man Who Came to Stay'? 'For Lovers'? 'Killamangiro'? You can't fault his output - and with 'Down in Albion', Pete's actually started to branch out and experiment more. It's just a shame so many of his fans don't seem to want to take that leap, and instead insist on regressing with the Monkeys...
Of course it isn't all bad… The Arctic Monkeys are an example of just how much influence the NME now has, and this (believe it or not) is a good thing. It's just that, sometimes, they get it wrong too.
Disclaimer: This article is from the Repeat Fanzine website. It has been posted here for general information purposes and no profit is being made from this article. Visit The Repeat Fanzine website here.