Favourite Worst Nightmare is the second studio album by English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys that was first released in Japan on 18 April 2007 before being released around the world. Recorded in east London's Miloco Studios with producers James Ford and Mike Crossey, the album was preceded by the release of new single "Brianstorm" on 16 April 2007. In its first week following release the album sold over 220,000 copies, emulating Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not in going straight to number one in the UK Albums Chart, albeit selling 100,000 copies fewer than their record-breaking debut. Favourite Worst Nightmare's first day sales of 85,000 outsold the rest of the Top 20 combined, while all twelve tracks from the album entered the top 200 of the UK Singles Chart in their own right. In the USA, the album debuted at number seven, selling around 44,000 copies in its first week. The album has since gone 2x platinum in the UK and the album was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize. At the 2008 BRIT Awards it won Best British Album.
In comparison to the band's debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, the album has been described as "very, very fast and very, very loud," being seen as "more ambitious, heavier...and with a fiercely bright production". Reflecting the band's travels around the world more than local stories of the first record, FWN is a "faster, meaner" album. The album arguably has influences from The Smiths - "twanging, quasi-ambient backdrops...and Turner's voice [...] crooning like Morrissey or Richard Hawley." Matt Helders said "Conor McBride's superfast supersmooth guitar sweeps and bone-crunching C-tuned guitar riffs were a major influence on this album." As a result, the drum rhythms of Helders and bassist Nick O'Malley have drawn comparisons to the Eighties funk band ESG. The band's love of classic films also influences their new style. For example, the organ at the beginning of the album's final track, "505" is taken directly from Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (where Angel Eyes enters before the final standoff).
Less than fifteen months after releasing a debut record which rewrote most music history books, Arctic Monkeys return to prove a point to those who still remain unconvinced by the retiring and nonchalant Sheffield quartet.
With the world waiting for the most almighty of musical slip-ups, the Arctics have found themselves under a burning microscope in the build up to the release of Favourite Worst Nightmare. Could this be the moment where Alex Turner falls flat on his face and admits that maybe, just maybe, he should have spent more time appeasing an interview-thirsty media frenzy? Not bloody likely – this is an absolute treasure.
‘’Brianstorm’’, a volcanic signal of intent, ‘’Teddy Picker’’ and ‘’D Is For Dangerous’’ give the album a rocketing lift-off. Ascending guitars do battle as the band’s much promised darker and heavier side comes to the fore. With a succession of jaw-dropping riffs, you are engulfed by a fever that was last induced by ‘’The View From The Afternoon’’ and ‘’Ritz To Rubble’’.
Favourite Worst Nightmare illustrates a great degree of maturity in many ways. Turner’s mastery of lyrics hits home more than before and is sure to connect with an older audience who felt excluded by Whatever People Say I Am… And wherever Turner, fit to burst with aggression and sexual frustration, has raised the bar, drummer Matt Helders has sailed over it with a virtuoso performance.
In a practically chorus-less 40 minutes, it’s difficult to find an ineffective track in a many-faced record. The slowest of songs, ‘’Only Ones Who Knew’’, could be curtailed by a minute but still makes for a great transition towards a slick finale. From ‘’Do Me A Favour’’ – the ultimate break-up track– to the cheeky-cheating ‘’Do The Bad Thing’’, the denouement is special. Final track ‘’505’’ is the perfect bookend to sit opposite the brash ‘’Brianstorm’’ with a tenderness sure to surprise.
Expect green-eyes from all corners (from The Strokes through to Klaxons) as the Monkeys continue their pursuit of perfection. Rather scarily, Favourite Worst Nightmare has surpassed previous heights scaled by the band and will have many a rival tossing and turning in their sleep for years to come. User Comments