Breaking America is supposed to be a Herculean task for a British band. Well, it is. Unless you're a boy band like One Direction.
That might help explain the steady rise of Arctic Monkeys. Not to belittle the Sheffield rockers, but they are undeniably rather young and handsome men. Alex Turner is just six years older than Louis Tomlinson (he's the rugged cute one in 1D).
But the better explanation for how Arctic Monkeys have kept their fifth album, AM, high on American charts for nearly a year, and have landed American Bacardi commercials, is that they continue to sound and look more and more, well, American. After Elvis-shimmying his hips through "Arabella," frontman Alex Turner actually says, "Uh, thankyuhverymuch," just like the King. He sports a belt buckle the size of an appetizer plate. After the third song or so, just as his greased hair begins to fall across his forehead, he flicks a comb out of his blazer and slicks back his coif. Drummer Matt Helders, who has helped beef up the band with his heavy low end, sports a snap-button cowboy shirt.
It's shocking how much this band has changed from the nervy, pimply, punky Britpop band of its first couple albums. Gone are the shag haircuts and anoraks. Now they all look like Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a Christopher Nolan film and sound like the Guess Who.
Aside from Presley, Dean and Fonzarelli, Turner also mimicks Mick Jagger a good bit—the wrists against the hips, the duck nod. Frankly, he lays the whole Rock Frontman thing on thicker than mayo on a Whopper. But that is what makes them great. That is what made them popular. Laying it on thick is bold. Guardians of the Galaxy lays it on thick, and that's a blast. If you're not laying it on thick, you're just dooming yourself to obscurity.
The latest record sounds massive live. The slower tempos, deeper bottom and curvier melodies are built for a festival. The band claims Dr. Dre was a major influence. That being said, the north field is half full. Most of the tank topped bros and girls in the park are watching Eminem, shrieking when Rihanna shows up. Sorry, Monkeys, this is still America after all, not Glastonbury. And nobody lays it on thick like a real Dr. Dre disciple rapping about murdering his wife.
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