Album Review no.16: Humbug - Arctic Monkeys

While I generally find the Arctic Monkeys to be a great band, it's no secret that this is one of their weaker records, as it didn't have the same amount of memorability or fun that the previous albums had, as well as just being not as well written at many points.

My Propeller:
I find the intro to this song to be incredibly strange. The main instrumentals of the song have a nice, almost mysterious feel to them, especially with the guitar riff and lack of any other major instrument. The vocals are not particularly good, as Alex Turner sounds straight up bored while singing. I also find the second half where the song changes to repeating the same phrase over and over to be quite unnecessary. I do really like the instrumentals though.

Crying Lightning:
I absolutely love the riff in this song, as well as the darker sound that it has. The slow progression of the song as it becomes louder and more aggressive is also amazing, especially since this is even reflected in the chorus, as it gets much louder and more energetic. Each member of the band does very well and there isn't any weak link in the entire song. My favourite part is probably the first verse though, as the vocals are quite laid back and enjoyable to listen to.

Dangerous Animals:
I personally find the riff to be quite repetitive in this song, as well as annoying due to how little it fits in with the vocals. I also find the verses to be incredibly boring. I don't mind the chorus though, it doesn't save the song from utter mediocrity, but it stops it from being a terrible song.

Secret Door:
The song starts of in a very boring way, with the uninteresting instrumentals over very average vocals. When the song picks up some pace, I enjoy it slightly more, as everything becomes more defined. The issue I have with this song is that I just don't really like the melody in general, meaning that even if this song was excellently made, it still wouldn't sit right with me. The chorus isn't the worst thing ever, but I really find anything else about this one to praise. Just a really dull song in general.

Potion Approaching:
The riff is pretty sweet for a bit, but what is up with the vocal patterns in this song? Every verse goes on and on, continuing even when it sounds like it should stop. This is also the worst vocal performance on the entire album, and possibly their entire discography. I can't find anything in this song that doesn't suck other than the passable riff that gets dull fast, the vocals are bad, the melody is near nonexistent, the change in tempo near the end is pointless, everything about this one is bad.

Fire and the Thud:
I find the intro to be quite good and unique and the instrumentals to be a major improvement over the last few songs. The song itself isn't too bad in any way, the vocals are good and the solo near the end is also good. The rest of the song isn't that interesting though.

Finally, after 4 songs, we have one that shows a return to form. The song is much less padded out and filled with unnecessary sections. The vocals are great and the more simple structure of the song gives the song a much more memorable feeling compared to basically anything else on this album. All in all, this is a great song.

Dance Little Liar:
Once again, the song is a step up from the majority of this album, due to the increased focus on the melody, rather than solos or anything else. Despite that, the solo at the end is very good and actually feels like it has a purpose in the song. The bassline is pretty great as well as the drum beat, which is one of the more involved ones of the album.

Pretty Visitors:
This feels like something that would be on one of their first 2 albums, the general energy and fun of the song are definitely there still. I'm not particularly keen on the chorus, as I find the song would have been better if the chorus was still fast paced rather than slowing down. Other than that little issue, this is a great song.

The Jeweller's Hands:
Forget about Dance Little Liar, this is the most underrated song by the Arctic Monkeys full stop. The song is unbelievably unique for this band, and is by far the most beautiful song by them. I love the intro, as it already sets you up for the amazing song that is about to play. The chorus is wonderfully made, with the instrumentals perfectly complementing the sad tone that the entire song has. I also like that even the climax of the song is still extremely held back, as it adds an incredible amount of emotion to it.

4*10 + 8 + 2*7 + 6 + 2*3 = 74/100

Final Thoughts:
Despite the average score, I do love a lot about this album. The reason that I can't give it a better score despite the fact that a few of these are my favourite Arctic Monkeys songs is because of a the fact that a fair few of these songs are mediocre or even suck, especially potion approaching. I recommend this to be an album you listen to after their first 2 albums, as that gives a clearer picture of their quality rather than this album. I do wish that a few of the weaker songs were replaced with something else though, because that would give this album the attention it deserves.

The next album that I'll review is going to be the Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. So, until next time, sit back and enjoy some great music.


This is my least favourite album by them - visitor