And so to ‘W’ in this A-Z musical retrospective of the noughties. There were a few decent albums from the 2000s that began with ‘W’ but one from 2006 still managed to stand out from the crowd.
W is for Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
In January 2006, I was entering the last few months of my time living in Paris, on the final straight towards completing a long overdue degree and still about four months away from finally getting around to asking out the pretty girl that I had been chatting to every week before my theatre studies lecture, who would later go on to become Mrs Proclaims.
I was mostly listening to French music at the time, though you’ll note that phase passed and none of the French albums that frequented my CD player at the time have made the cut for my retrospective – I still enjoy revisiting them from time to time but I couldn’t claim to be an expert on French popular music and I’m not sure the artists I was listening to would necessarily even be especially representative of the best of the various genres that permeate the French music scene. I had more or less lost touch with UK music at that time, but one album still managed to break through.
And that would be the fastest-selling debut album in British music history.
Arctic Monkeys have released some great records over the years, and have never been afraid to re-invent themselves, generally successfully. Frontman Alex Turner has such a distinctive voice that it’s never particularly hard to identify an Artic Monkeys’ track, but each of their albums still has its own distinct sound.
Which is to their credit because when you release a debut as iconic as Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not it must be tempting to try to recreate that sound on subsequent albums.
I do enjoy all of their output, even the somewhat polarising 2018 release, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, but I do have a special place in my heart for their first album.
And few songs represent the entire decade better than I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.