I know it's not Mod technically... but doesn't stop it being a great track.
Interesting article here about the Last Shadow Puppets’ latest offering.
I’ve chatted about their new album before and it’s creating quite a scene. I mean, as much as any one record can nowadays. It went straight to number one in the UK charts, although again this is kind of meaningless for many readers of this blog. The chart toppers come and go, often without any impact whatsoever on my music life, despite what reviewers say. It’s only when an artist has overwhelming, sustained success and they end up everywhere else (talkshows, TV, on massive posters, in the news, etc) that I actually pay any attention to them and even then I mostly do it just to see what all the fuss is about. And this usually turns out to be nothing by the way).
However, an interesting point made in this article by Halle Weber is that a number of factors, including bands like the Last Shadow Puppets, are drawing fans back to guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll.
I’m not sure how true this is, but I do know that my girlfriend, a notorious Beyonce and pop fan, also tends to be quite keen on this album. Perhaps there will be more guitar music around for a while.
I know most of you guys are probably looking for a bit soul, but you might end up disappointed!
Below is one of the good tracks from the album, along with its video which I've only just watched for the first time. It's pretty zany, but it does remind me of one of those Style Council videos where everything is a bit camp and tongue-in-cheek.
Now I realise not all Arctic Monkeys fans are Mods and by no means are all Mods Arctic Monkeys fans.
However, I am both and this is my blog.
There were rumours flying around that they would be back in the studio by the end of the year working on album number 6. While these rumours were clearly generated by people getting overexcited, the press office didn’t confirm or deny them. Also, Alex Turner said that there were “not yet” plans for the sixth album.
I interpret this as code for "there will probably be a sixth album, but when I can be bothered."
This is understandable. Turner himself only just completed Everything You’ve Come To Expect in April with his other band The Last Shadow Puppets for fuck’s sake.
As the engine room of the band (at least in terms of songwriting) Turner is the key element to any new Arctic Monkeys album and, although he’s prolific with his songwriting, he’s not that prolific. I vote we give him a break for now, be patient and just refresh our memories with some of his best from before. There’s more than enough to be going on with!
So perhaps NG is have a touch of this nostalgia about the 1990s. Perhaps someone could give us their view in the comments below.
However, I do think the man has a point about the major bands. Oasis and their compatriots stand out in the 1990s as the cream of the crop. Perhaps it is about class, like he says. Kasabian, the Libertines and Arctic Monkeys just have a swagger and an attitude, whereas the likes of Coldplay and Two Door Cinema Club just seem a bit wet.
And now nobody is taking on carrying the torch. There aren’t any standout bands for me at the moment, only a few good songs. Why? Perhaps I'm already past it.
But I would say it seems a bit weird for NG to literally blame the AMs and Kasabian for this as if it’s their fault. I think perhaps it’s more to do with culture. NG mentions X-Factor dominating TV (with its emphasis on singing rather than instrument playing or songwriting) and so on, where presumably kids would have watched Top of the Pops in the past.
I have a theory that since everyone (including working class kids) started being forced to stay in school longer and encouraged more to go to university, their identity as strong-willed, independent people has been watered down by having to write essays when, in the past, they might have been having life experiences and writing songs. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but modern student bands usually tend to chuck out pretentious rubbish.
Speaking as someone who did go to University, I don’t doubt that this cultural change is good news for some kids. University is certainly good for boosting the career prospects of the scholarly.
But it's not for everyone and I can’t imagine it’s that inspiring for songwriters.
To me, so far, there are a few go-to numbers. “Everything you’ve come to expect” is good, as is the “Dream synopsis”. Nothing stands out immediately on first listen, but the songs are all bit more groovy than they were on that previous album and there are some frankly hilarious, as well as clever, lyrics. It plays well as an album without stopping and starting, which is unusual for music of this generation and is a concept I suspect many people under-appreciate. With iTunes, you might as well go and download all the greatest hits of everyone in the charts into a single playlist and that will give you objectively the most popular music. But for an artist to put together a sustained body of work that flows well is quite unusual.
You might be astonished to hear a 27-year-old say that, but it’s true! Despite the click-and-download culture, the idea of a LP or album still has its fans.
They wear a lot of roll-necks and they had a great look in the video for “Standing Next to Me”. But they equally frequently wear totally bizarre shit that I wouldn’t be seen dead in. Recently, Alex Turner’s look seems to owe more to Joe Strummer than Pete Townshend. Miles Kane has shaved his head. Not a complete lack of form if he was going skinhead, but I see no evidence.
So they might be a bit Mod sometimes and that’s fine.
But for them it is not a way of life. They do not live clean under difficult circumstances. They dress up for the stage and that’s that.
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