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Teddy Picker by Arctic Monkeys

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Reviewed on 16th December 2007.


Teddy Picker

By Arctic Monkeys

Here the Arctic Monkeys toss out an album track in lieu of any other obvious single choice and yet still impress. That may seem like a contradiction; their second album is a belter but lacks standouts beyond the first two singles. 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' has established them well beyond the fly-by-night chancers. Their rise has been accompanied by a mythology where non-believers hurl unsupported accusations of song writing assistance. The underlying theme of their argument - Arctic Monkeys are too good to be true.

Alex Turner's lyrics often exude an eagerness to establish visible distance between his own band and the scene, the scene he sees as full of vulgar ingratiation. On 'Teddy Picker' you can almost taste the sourness of his revulsion ["Who'd want to be men of the people / When there's people like you?"]. It's a stark rejoinder to the seductive dreams of excess sold by the industry and swallowed by the next big things, the unquestioned goal of fame and its lavish trappings. Turner targets the phoneys with a clipped scorn reminiscent of the album's first single 'Brainstorm', just in case you didn't quite get the message first time round sunshine.

There's a good deal of elegance in Turner's balanced composition as he retains a level of mystery whilst avoiding complete abstraction. In general I'm fairly in awe of his work on the second album - it seems to unravel itself further with every listen. On occasion though his barbs can be so sharp that they pull you right out of the song [the most dissociating lines being the overtly graphic, "Don't be surprised when you get bent over / He told you that you were gagging for it"]. As usual these are set to an astonishingly punishing drum rhythm and a few choice hooks.

Where do they go from here I wonder. Probably not rehab.



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