New Arctic Monkeys song – a grower not a grabber?

After playing it at a few live gigs and TV skits, Alex Turner and his Arctic Monkeys have officially sent the first song from the Next Album out into the big bad world of blogs and radio playlists.  It’s called Crying Lightning and it’s a fair old departure from previous Monkeying around.

Or is it?  The lyrics and sentiment are certainly similar: a vexed Alex detailing another pesky romance, and re-affirming his ability as a pied piper of everyday, very British imagery, an ordinary bloke living an ordinary life, just like the rest of us. In this case he paints a pretty picture of a girl he sees outside a cracker factory, chomping on classic sweets: “And my thoughts got rude as you talked and chewed / On the last of your pick-n-mix”

What has changed is the sound.  I could talk about the more electrical-sounding guitars, or the seemingly more layered cacophany of sounds in the chorus… but, put simply, Crying Lightning is thicker, and heavier, than previous Arctic Monkeys numbers.  Where songs like Mardy Bum and Fluorescent Adolescent were all cheeky chappy charm, dainty and free-spirited, this is a more grown-up, burdened sound.  Perhaps that right there is the result of Josh Homme taking producer duties – his Queens Of The Stone Age are nothing if not intense, even if their lyrics sometimes tend to trivia.

For fans of Arctic Monkeys, it’s very easy not to like Crying Lightning.  My own first reaction was “nope, they’ve changed the formula and left me behind, and why don’t I play ‘Mardy Bum’ instead, and double click and bmm-bmm-bmm-bmm-bmm-d0-do-do-d0 do etc etc now then mardy bum…..”.  But the more I think about it, of course they had to change: what good would another album of the same be?  Quite good, perhaps, but these are talented kids, and capable of more varied things. And the more I listen to Crying Lightning, the more I hum along happily to its sinister whines and pulsating beat.  This is a good song, one that probably be happily championed if it was by a new band fresh on the scene, as opposed to a returning behemoth. I don’t love it, not yet, but I’m definitely warming.  Or thawing.

Arctic Monkeys on MySpace

Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning (zSHARE)

Buy Crying Lightning here. (iTunes Store)

~ by ripamel on 15/07/2009.

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