Wednesday, 28 October 2009

48: Arctic Monkeys - Leave Before The Lights Come On

One day, years from now, cultural historians will appraise the lyrics of a certain Mr. Alex Turner, and will conclude that he was the premiere popular poet of his generation. In the same way that Morrissey had his finger on the pulse of British life in the 80s, the Sheffield frontman has a knack for describing society accurately, and with great wit.

'Leave Before The Lights Come On' is a prime example. At first glance, the song would appear to chronicle that moment at which the club lights come up at the end of a night, to reveal the carnage and devastation that has gone before. But dig deeper, and Turner is also describing the feelings of dread and regret that result from waking up alongside a stranger.

The Arctic Monkeys came out of nowhere, and took the music scene by storm. The story has been well recounted - the first big MySpace success story, they sold out London's famous Astoria whilst still unsigned, hit #1 with their first two singles, had the fastest selling debut album in history, and headlined Glastonbury less than two years after signing their first record deal.

Amazingly, 'Leave Before The Lights Come On' was rejected as an album track for 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not', and so never appeared on an Arctic Monkeys album. Despite this, it peaked at #4 in the charts in August 2006, and remains one of their fans' best-loved songs. In particular, it showcases the extraordinary drumming talents of Matt Helders, whose drum fills, particularly on the instrumental bridge are a sight to behold.

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