There’s a great relatability in a working class person singing songs about their hometown. Especially one with a way with words who can create a captivating story in a three minute song. Think early Oasis or the fantastic “Word Gets Round” by the Stereophonics. But it’s a relatability that often means their music diminishes or at least suffers as they grow and move away from that initial inspiration. It’s hard to sing about being on the dole and bumming round a city when you’re making money off a huge hit album having left that life in the rear view mirror. It’s hard to keep that rawness and honesty.

So as you move on do you leave that honesty behind and cater to those fans who loved the earlier stuff? Or do you move on and potentially alienate those early listeners but stay true to who you are now? It’s also hard for that later work not to overshadow the earlier stuff as well. Think how early U2 is often forgotten amongst jokes about Bono and daft things like pushing an album to everyone’s iTunes. It’s similar to a film franchise, how Star Wars for some fans is diminished with every film released that doesn’t live up to the original.

So the band in question, Arctic Monkeys, I loved their debut album “Whatever people say I am, That’s what I’m not”. I was just leaving university and many of the tales of drunken nights I’d been living. They had a brash, unapologetic style of a young upstart band as they weaved fantastic tales of life and love in Sheffield.

The track “When the sun goes down” was a highlight of the album for me. Alex Turner’s low key vocals starting the track and setting the scene of a song about prostitution in Sheffield with a reference to The Police’s “Roxanne” dropped in (not one of those drunken nights I’d been living in this case!). The anticipation before the track kicks in is palpable, before the drums arrive with the driving guitar and bass to accompany all building to the sing along chorus.

“They said it changes when the sun goes down”

Memories swirl of people bouncing round at gigs, at clubs, on dance floors as the track powers along artfully painting incredibly vivid pictures just with the lyrics.

It feels like this whole album captures perfectly a moment in the band’s life, something that inevitably fades as the artist moves from the subject. But however you feel about later Arctic Monkeys – some stuff hits for me, some doesn’t – it is like many things worth revisiting the earlier stuff. It’s great to find that it stands up just as well as when you first heard it, it does you good to remember why you enjoyed it in the first place, even if it was a time and a place that is no longer there.

From the blog

The Christmas reading list

If you’re prepared you’ve probably already bought all your Christmas gifts even if it isn’t yet December, if you aren’t and you have a music lover in your life then how about a nice music related book? I’ve got a few recommendations for you here, there are plenty more I’ve enjoyed over the years – […]

For Your Ears, For Your Eyes #2

The latest newsletter has dropped this week, the second of our recommendations issues. Featuring Charli XCX, Zuzu, The Avalanches, Everything is a remix and a few more. Check it out at the link below and don’t forget to sign up so you don’t miss future emails – link in the site footer! For Your Ears, […]

The mailing list – For Your Ears – For Your Eyes

We’ve just sent out the first issue of our mailing list with our fortnightly recommendations. If you haven’t read it yet you can do so here. But why not sign up using the form in the footer and make sure you don’t miss an issue.

Some Podcast Recommendations

So much to listen to, so little time. I’m sure it’s the same for most people – I have a queue of new music I want to listen to, along with wanting to rediscover and enjoy old favourites and then add to that an ever increasing queue of podcasts to take up my listening time. […]

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Welcome to Mumubl a place where you can talk about the music that means a lot to you and discover the tracks and albums that move other people.

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