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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Arctic Monkeys
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Domino Records

Rating: 4.5/10 ?

March 2, 2006
Fish and chips on a Friday evening, page three, eight pints of Stella followed by a donner kebab, the National Lottery, the pissing rain, reality TV, Simon bleeding Cowell, cheap holidays in Benidorm...

Arctic Monkeys embody every depressingly British cultural element that most of us would rather forget about, yet Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not sold 120,000 records in the UK on the very first day of its release! I won't rob these lads (emphasis on lads) of the fact that they possess broad appeal, and the fact that what they're doing has been cleverly thought out (or picked up on) - and has evidently been very successful - but if these four jack-the-lads are setting the agenda for the youth of England, then its current flaccidity comes as no surprise.

Arctic Monkey's appeal stems from their exploitation of the brazenly lowbrow, and the band subsequently comes across as a fun, catchy and slightly mischievous bunch that most people find quite easy to relate to. In the case of that easy relation, I think a significant slice of the attraction boils down to aesthetics: what sets Arctic Monkeys apart from other British success stories of recent years, such as the quirkily-styled Franz Ferdinand, is their partiality to look like they've just walked out of a student lounge on some campus somewhere. They're ambassadors for the 20-something pigeonhole-free society, and they certainly must be commended for their ability to sieve each and every ingredient into a neat 40-odd minutes.

So we all heard "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," and we all probably quite liked it as well. It's a short burst of raw energy that'll turn heads, but the track simply does not carry enough weight to compliment the rest of Whatever People Say. In fact, the prevailing lack of substance declares itself by the time "Still Take You Home" kicks in, and it becomes evident that Alex Turner's somewhat chirpy vocals are the album's lone cohesive influence. "Mardy Bum" exudes gawkiness rather than a spirit of youth, and I'm sure it will take the mere passing of the current fad for people to realise that - with lyrics such as "You know, oh it's a funny thing, you know/ We'll tell 'em if you like/ We'll tell 'em all tonight/ They'll never listen" (from "A Certain Romance") - Turner is certainly no Morrissey.

Arctic Monkeys may be the latest phenomenon to have jumped onto the indie-rock merry-go-round, but the question that Whatever People Say begs to ask is, Will they be on it for more than a year or so? My answer would be no; but by my own admission, the Arctic Monkeys do possess another variable, one that is perhaps a more important factor in calculating their longevity: marketability. Arctic Monkeys have British authenticity, an attitude that many find easy to tune into, youth, and the whole mySpace success story behind them, so expect to see these fellas on the front pages of NME at least until northern indie/post-punk becomes unhip again. Arctic Monkeys may be unashamedly British, by then so are jellied eels - doesn't mean we want to eat them. I'd give Arctic monkeys two years, tops.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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