The great greasy riff that
opens “Do I Wanna Know?”, the first song on The Arctic Monkey’s fifth album AM,
is an announcement that after two albums of fruitless experimentation they are
back to the focused no BS type songwriting of the first two brilliant Monkey’s
records WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I’M NOT, THAT’S WHAT I AM and FAVOURITE WORST
That’s not to say Alex Turner
and co. didn’t learn anything from the detour of HUMBUG and SUCK IT SEE. The ballads here feel comfortable in a way
slower songs on earlier releases didn’t.
However, this is also the catchiest music they have made in a good long
And the catchiness is the strength
of AM. It’s a return to big dumb songs
that rock out in an early 70’s glam way.
Turner’s lyrics move back from surrealist nonsense towards his understanding
of insular social scenes as well as his intricate dissection of relationships. In fact, many of these songs sound like the
other end of their debut, an adult’s view of similar scenarios.
This is a great enjoyable
record, perhaps the most immediate, fun music I’ve heard this year. One for the
Road, I Want It All, Why Do You Only Call Me When You’re High are songs from a
band in resurgence who’ve discovered what inspired them to make music in the
first place. In particular, Alex Turner sounds
fully focused here
“I want to be your vacuum
cleaner/ Breathing in your dust/ I want to be your Ford Cortina/ I will never
rust” is so earnest it makes one wince but this couplet from AM’s final track
the majestic I Wanna Be Yours is sung with such conviction that it flows and
has power and is sold to the listener maybe that’s what was missing and what
the Monkeys’ have found again – conviction.
The template of the music
Elvis Costello makes with collaborators The Roots on WISE UP GHOST is a hodgepodge of influences - James Brown drumming, Parliament fuzz
guitars, Stevie Wonder funky wurlitzers and electric pianos, and plenty of
strings and horns. The result is Curtis
Mayfield less gritty but harder.
Costello lyrically seems
especially inspired. His lyrics are not
as much as elliptical here as directly angry pointed at power, wealth,
inequities in life. Probably the album’s
weirdest moment is in Stick Out Your Tongue when he recycles the lyrics of
Pills and Soap and Hurry Up Doomsday for the verses and couples them with a new
melody and chorus.
Actually, as strange an idea
as this may sound, this is hardly Costello’s weirdest collaboration when you
consider he’s made albums with Burt Bacharach, Allan Toussaint, and The Brodsky
Quartet. Costello is the ultimate music fan
and he could probably make a good record with anybody these days.
The final word is this feels
like an Elvis Costello record albeit one with a certain set of parameters for
its background musicians. Costello is certainly
not out of his comfort zone here and as I mentioned above he sounds angry and
impassioned on some of the tunes and that’s a good thing.
Also some of his singing on
the slower tunes is gorgeous. Is there
any singer whose voice has aged better than EC?
vibe is not as anguished rather this is more like late period
Nine Inch Nails without all the clanging percussion and yelling and
screaming.A slightly nauseous synth
ripple creates the palette for the plaintive falsetto slightly altered by auto
agony here just a long slow grind ending occasionally in small cathartic explosions.Another step forward by a deeply original
artist not encumbered by genre.
Chinese wish of “living in interesting times” bestowed on people as a good luck
greeting might seem like a curse to Novak Djokovic.
another time (like the early 2000’s or the early 90’s) he might have dominated
tennis winning all four grand slams or at least more than the six he has
is, at the age of 26, he has been number one for almost 100 weeks (9’th on the
all time list but will be 7’th shortly if he hangs on after the US Open result).
failure to do more in his tennis career at this point can’tbe blamed on lack of trying.He has changed diet and racquets and training
regimen and the result found him winning three grand slams in the same year –
a superb athlete, extremely fast around the court.He is a naturally gifted tennis player
equally powerful off the forehand and backhand side with a great serve he can
hit into any section of the box.He has
no real weaknesses that can be exploited
Djokovic’s loss to Nadal yesterday which found him with more than double the
amount of unforced errors as he attempted to take control of points and not get
lulled into Nadal’s grinding type of play, I realized Nadal’s biggest weakness
is being born in the time of the two greatest players in the history of tennis
Roger Federer and Nadal.
has faded recently but Nadal’s second win at the US Open shows he’s still a
contender on surfaces other than clay when he’s healthy and at 27 he will still
be capable of winning a few more grand slams.I now consider Nadal based on the fact he’s won everything all four
slams, 13 slams in total plus the Olympics, the second greatest player of all
relatively smaller amount of grand slam final victories is a direct result of unintentional
selfishness of the great play of Nadal (and Federer).People like Andy Murray and David Ferrer have
had the same problem.A whole generation
blunted by the jaw dropping excellence of the two best players of all time.