Considering Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus have taken over the U.S. radio waves for a bit, it might be good to take a break and dive into a different scene. Luckily, The 1975 and the Arctic Monkeys have come to the rescue. Both English indie rock bands have just released albums, which are easily the best of the year so far.
The 1975’s self-titled debut album is sex-driven and gives off a surreal vibe with sick guitar riffs and powerful vocals. Some of the poppier songs on the album – like “Chocolate” and “Girls” – will easily make their way onto the radio.
The lyrics are strong on every track; the band – vocalist and guitarist Matthew Healy, guitarist Adam Hann, drummer George Daniel and bassist Ross MacDonald – wrote the entire album themselves. Most of the tracks feature dialogue in their lyrics and focus on girls “with a face from a movie scene or a magazine.”
The album opens with an introduction, “The 1975,” that eases listeners into their one-of-a-kind sound. The following track, “The City,” is a bit rockier than the other songs on the record. When you first hear Healy’s voice, you might be thrown off. His accent makes his vocals unique; the lyrics sound a bit slurred and his style is attention-grabbing.
The next song, “M.O.N.E.Y.,” takes you back to the band’s laidback sound; it’s like MGMT but 20 times better. “Chocolate” and “Sex” are highlights on the album. After listening to a few songs, you’ll realize just how much innuendo is scattered throughout each track. Lyrics like “Use your hands and my spare time/We’ve got one thing in common/It’s this tongue of mine” aren’t exactly subtle.
Some of the other notable tracks on the album are “Girls,” “She Way Out” and “Heart Out;” all are a bit poppier than some of the other tracks you’ll find on “The 1975,” but they’re catchy and addictive. “Heart Out” has an ‘80s vibe and clever lyrics like “Push your lack of chest out/Look at my hair/Gotta love the way you love yourself.” The guitar riff in “Girls” will be stuck in your head for days; there’s no doubt that the track should be a single.
“Robbers” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. You can hear the emotion in Healy’s vocals, especially in the last few lines. “I’ll give you one more time/We’ll give you one more fight/One more line – there’ll be a riot cause I know you,” he sings.
The interludes on the album – “12” and “An Encounter” – are hauntingly beautiful, as is the last track “Is There Somebody Who Can Watch You.” With such a strong debut album, it’ll be impressive to see how The 1975 tops it with their sophomore album.
Once you’ve listened to “The 1975” a few times through – and trust me, you will – download “AM” by the Arctic Monkeys. You won’t regret it.
Lead singer Alex Turner has admitted to emulating the Velvet Underground’s album name, “VU,” for the group’s fifth album. But that’s the only unoriginal thing you’ll find on this record.
The album kicks off with “Do I Wanna Know?” the second single off “AM.” It’s a little different than their usual sound, but just like past records Turner makes sure to keep the typical sexy Arctic Monkeys sound. “It’s just I’m constantly on the cusp of trying to kiss you/I don’t know if you feel the same as I do,” he sings.
The following track, “R U Mine?” is similar to past records. The contrast of the heavy sound and the falsetto backing vocals is flawless.
“One for the Road” – similar to “My Propeller” and “Crying Lightning” off the band’s third album, “Humbug” – is a little darker than the previous tracks. The chorus is sexier than Turner himself (a difficult feat, if you ask me).
If you weren’t already jealous of Turner’s girlfriend, actress Arielle Vandenberg, you will be now. The next song, “Arabella,” was written for her; the title combines her name and Barbarella from the 1968 science-fiction movie of the same name, who is referenced in the song. “Arabella” as well as the next track, “I Want It All,” aren’t as dark as “One for the Road” but you can still hear a major rock influence.
“No. 1 Party Anthem” and “Mad Sounds” are the slowest songs on the album. The former references waiting for that one song to play at the party you’re at. “Mad Sounds” has a ‘70s vibe to it as does the following track, “Fireside.” This next song talks about a relationship. “But I just can’t help manage to get through the day without thinking of you lately,” he sings.
“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” experiments with R&B sounds a little more than the other tracks on “AM.” It’s followed by “Snap Out of It” and “Knee Socks,” which lean more toward indie rock.
The Arctic Monkeys finish off “AM” with “I Wanna Be Yours,” which has that R&B/rock vibe the band has managed to perfect on this album. What makes this synthesis so great is that the group isn’t afraid to experiment and, considering it’s hard for the Arctic Monkeys to fail, that’s good news for listeners.