With The Weeknd, Drake, Miguel, and The Dream (if you must) beat music took a turn for the dark side and even worse, predictable. Seven minute songs about late night parties that moved to after parties in the hotel rooms with scenes of drug use became the norm. Most of the singers were straight forward with their communication about their desires for lust and fucking. Us guys ate it up and for the most part the women we brought home loved it as well because when you put The Weeknd on by now any girl who hears it knows what’s about to go down. But like most trends the dark mood fuck music has been a little overdone. There’s no real foreplay in the words, no hint or hope of any real romance. The pattern is the same in the songs, meet girl, bang girl, and do drugs with girl, miss girl when she’s gone, feel shitty about yourself after.
That’s why it’s so surprising that the best R&B album of 2013 is brought to you by the English rock band Artic Monkeys and their incredible album AM. The topics of sex, drinking, drugs and regret are all here but Artic Monkeys makes it all sound fun again like a good time you’d hope to repeat next weekend instead of the coming down/ hangover effect Drake and company go for. One of the things that makes AM impressive is it doubles as an album you put on before going out to chase women and the album you put on when you bring them back to your place. It serves as an invisible wingman.
The reason why AM works so well is because singer/guitarist Alex Turner is able to croon about nights relatable to any guy in any city all over the world that goes out chasing action in seedy places he knows he won’t find love. He nails nights out, after parties and drunk texting on songs like “No. 1 Party Anthem”, “One For The Road”, and “Why’d you only call me when you ‘re High”. At other parts when he does get the girl he questions himself and the meaning of their hookup or relationship on songs like, “Do I Wanna Know?” “R U Mine?” and “Fireside”.
There are no seven minute songs here or tricky fuzzed out beats that change mid song. The strongest weapon on the album is Turners lyrics and his ability to convey his mood using short phrases or vague sentences instead of straight forward hook up lines. Another powerful element is the throw back 70’s British Rock vibe AM is working with. It’s got a vintage swagger to it that’s not hiding the fact that it’s trying to seduce you. This makes it perfect for an album you can play in the background but still gets its intentions across without being straightforward. For example on Fireside, a song about a relationship that could have been, Turner sings, “You were a stranger in my phonebook I was acting like I knew, cause I had nothing to lose” and then ends it with “You and me could have been a team/Each had a half a king and queen seat/ Like the beginning of Mean Streets/ You could be my baby”
By the last song “I Wanna Be Yours” Turner has put aside any pretense or wordy bullshit and is straight up telling the girl he desires and his intentions. This is an album that should be heard while drinking something brown and neat preferably with the opposite sex.