Tuesday, 24 November 2009

37: Arctic Monkeys - 505

There's this bit in '505' which, when the Arctic Monkeys played it as part of their encore at Glastonbury 2007 (see video below), was one of the most euphoric moments I've ever experienced at a live show. It's at the end of the bridge, when they've reduced the volume and slowed the pace of the song right down, and then Alex Turner bursts back in, full pelt, with one of the most beautiful and poetic verses ever written - "but I crumble completely when you cry, it seems like once again you've had to greet me with goodbye, I'm always just about to go and spoil the surprise, take my hands off of your eyes too soon". I think it was about that moment, the penultimate song of a devastatingly good headline set, that I realised just how important this band have become.

It's easy to dismiss the Arctic Monkeys as being a product of the lad-rock, Britpop generation that preceeded and surrounded them, but tracks like '505' really distinguish them from the Fratellis and the Enemys of this world. Their songs are exquisitely constructed, with meaningful lyrics sung with real power and emphasis by their enigmatic frontman. They have had a huge impact on British music this decade, and with no signs of slowing up after three sensational albums, we can expect to see them cropping up in plenty of end of decade lists ten years from now.

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