Vulture Hound is looking back at 10 albums which turn 10 years old in 2016. This week Sarah Carter wishes Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, a happy 10th birthday.
If you’re lucky enough to be a fresh-faced, wide-eyed 25 or under, it’s probably pretty hard to imagine a time before the internet. In terms of music, the web became the catalyst for a change in the way that music is consumed, produced and marketed (for better or worse), and during the mid-noughties, the band that became a shining example of how to succeed in the biz during this turbulent time was Sheffield born Arctic Monkeys. You might have heard of them by now.
Arctic Monkeys did what no other band had done successfully since… well, ever. Their DIY approach to music sky rocketed them into the mainstream, proving that the major labels could no longer rule the charts, bringing good, honest guitar music into the limelight.
They became a phenomenon before they’d even released their debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not in January 2006, building a virtual fanbase through the likes of MySpace (remember that old thing?) and online file sharing (RIP Limewire). Their uprising paved the way for the internet to be considered an essential tool in the music business and, lo and behold, ten years later you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t own a subscription to some form of online music streaming service. Although MySpace doesn’t seem to be doing quite so well these days…
Ten years back, we all knew that the Monkeys were something pretty special. Raw and rollicking rock ‘n’ roll music made by the types of people you could imagine you went to school with, Arctic Monkeys weren’t over-polished, over-produced pop stars who were idolised but unrelatable. They were Sheffield boys through and through, the types of teens you’d see performing down your local Miner’s Welfare on a Saturday night, because it was the only place you and your mates could get served alcohol underage. And that’s basically the premise behind their debut, and the reason why it’s still such a relevant and important album.
From their iconic singles ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, to their stark commentary on topics like the local music scene in ‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’, Arctic Monkeys proved their worth in so many ways with their debut. Not just your average guitar band, but true artists in their song writing and musicianship.
Whatever People Say I Am… is no doubt the soundtrack to millions of people’s teenage years, and you only have to look at where the boys find themselves these days to know that their legacy won’t be forgotten any time soon. Pure, unadulterated talent and a DIY ethos made Arctic Monkeys a band with endurance and mass appeal, making Whatever… an album that truly made music history.