16 years on, How Arctic Monkeys Debut Album Made History

16 years ago yesterday, Arctic Monkeys released their debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’. Prior to the release, the Sheffield natives achieved two number one singles of ‘I Bet That You Look Good On the Dance Floor’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, both of which have gone down as timeless classics.

The album became the fastest selling debut album in British music history, selling over 360,000 copies in its first week, and remains the fastest selling debut album by a band. It has since gone 6× platinum in the UK and on the US, it also became the second-fastest selling independent record label debut album in history.

The album’s title came from novel Saturday night and Sunday morning written by Alan Sillitoe.

Track by track, this is one of the strongest albums of all time, and for a debut… wow. I can’t explain how much this album means to me personally or even begin to decide what the best track is. But, in my opinion, the best track on the album is ‘A Certain Romance’. I feel it encapsulates the theme of the album perfectly with the opening lyrics “Oh they might wear classic reeboks, or knackered Converse or trackie bottoms tucked in socks” which perfectly describes mid-noughties Britain.

Musically, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ features indie rock, garage rock revival, post-punk revival, punk rock, alternative rock, and Britpop. Its thematic content has been likened to a concept, generally concerning nightlife, including lyricism surrounding clubbing and pub culture, and romance from the perspective of young Northerners.

Looking into 2022 it could be a big year for the band. Headlining Leeds and Reading festival and a new album on the horizon. Will their new album reach the heights of ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’? Well that remains to be seen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: