Album Review: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

It may be hard to believe there was a time when Alex Turner wasn’t the global superstar he’s known and loved as today. However, 11 years ago he and his band, the Arctic Monkeys, were just four scruffy lads from Sheffield celebrating the release of their debut album,  Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

One of the main driving forces of the album is the band’s humble background, they play up to their image as a group of mischievous teens on a night out and you’re there to enjoy it with them. The lead single off the album I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, has a very punk vibe to it which is followed up in Still Take You Home. This isn’t to say this is all the album has to offer, Mardy Bum is a love song which adds a softer touch to proceedings, whereas Fake Tales Of San Francisco shows off Turner’s dry wit as he explicitly describes a young woman who doesn’t seem to be enjoying her night out.

The boys performing their debut album at T in the Park. Photo credit – Tony Barton


Despite the fun and light hearted tone in the beginning, things take a sinister twist in the latter half of the album. Turner unapologetically paints the dark realities of the streets in the early hours of the morning, filled with fights and ‘girls of the night’ which he brutally describes in When The Sun Goes Down.

The album ends on a warm note with A Certain Romance which is without a doubt my favourite track on the album. It embodies the Turner and cos beginnings in working class Britain, the highs and lows which many people can relate to, cementing their debut album as an absolute masterpiece and one of the greatest British albums of all time.


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