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Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? by Arctic Monkeys

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Reviewed on 15th August 2013.

 
 

Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?

By Arctic Monkeys

Watching this video, I see something obscene in every single shot. Much like Alex Turner sees the girl he's texting performing various sexual acts with strangers, I see ridiculous amounts of money being thrown around on something that quite simply does not deserve it.

I've a love-hate thing with the Arctic Monkeys. I think some of their stuff is absolutely amazing, regardless of whether it's a fashionable opinion at the time or not. But, having followed them a while, I don't really see what they're going for at Monkeys HQ with their approach to the newest batch of songs. I love R U Mine and Do I Wanna Know?, the RnB backing vocals and the octave-chunked riff really got under my skin and I dug Arctic Monkeys songs for the first time in a while. But why they had DIWK? playing in the bar for the first minute or so of this video, before 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?' even starts, baffles me. Is this some sort of concept album we're hearing? If so, what's the concept? A night out with the lads on the lash, apparently, in which case I'm left wondering whether they're seriously still stuck on that theme.

They're clearly fine with R U Mine and Do I Wanna Know? sounding very similar, which I don't mind at all, quite a few of my favourite albums are concept albums with recurring themes - albums like Red Headed Stranger and Ziggy Stardust. Having said that, even the tracks that use literally the same musical/lyrical parts on those albums have basic merit enough to stand on their own as songs. But the yawnsome, structure-free tripe that the Arctic Monkeys trotted out with WDOCMWYH really, really doesn't.

I'm not going to talk any more about the video, it's as shit as their recent two were good. Think embarrassingly narcissistic and thoughtless Alex Turner-as-typical lad (in 000s worth of designer gear) acting drunk. The song itself is the same aesthetic approach as the others, there are echoing surf/ early Rock'n'Roll sounding guitars, this time employed in a percussive role similar to that on Dre's 'Next Episode' and shiny, squeezed production all round. Loads of vocal harmonies reminiscent of big-selling early noughties R'n'B, lyrics delivered in Turner's new too-cool-for-school slow drawl. But , unlike the other recent releases, it's boring from start to finish, Turner sounds bored by it, the band sound bored by it. It has no chorus, it has no dynamic shifts of any note, there's absolutely nothing to latch on to - and I was looking hard. It sounds like a song commissioned by a phone manufacturer. Maybe it was, going back to that money thing. There are a thousand bands who'd put the money spent on this video/song to far, far better use, but will never get the chance. I'd probably forgive that if this was an amazing track, I'm superficial like that. It's not though, it's the half-arsed mind-dribble of a lazy, talented multi-millionaire and he knows it.

 

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