SINGLE REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys – Why’d you only ever call me when you’re high
The Arctic Monkeys are on a roll. They shock the world with come back single ‘Do I Wanna Know?‘, pull a resoundingly triumphant headlining set at Glastonbury out of the bag to vanquish all their previous Glasto-related demons, and now? Now they follow it all up with the dark and witty single ‘Why’d you only ever call me when you’re high?’.
Released overnight with the music video to accompany it, the Monkey’s didn’t employ any tease tactics often used by pop stars to try and garner attention for their lacklustre, over-produced attempts at taking over the charts. Instead they quietly put single and video out together and let the internet do the rest. ‘Why’d you only ever call me when you’re high?’ is an intelligent but more subtle third single to introduce their new album ‘AM’. Whilst ‘R U Mine?‘ had fiery rock guitar riffs and ‘Do I Wanna Know?‘ had a seductive and sexy edge, this single has the realism that made the Monkey’s popular in the first place.
“Now it’s three in the morning, and I’m trying to change your mind, left you multiple missed calls, and to my message you reply: Why’d you only call me when you’re high?” croons Turner, reminding us that superstars they may be, but the Monkeys are still young lads who can vividly paint a picture of the experiences of a lot of other young people. It’s this that keeps them relevant and it’s this that will make them cult favourites for years to come.
The video to ‘Why’d you only ever call me when you’re high?‘ is a departure from their usual style. Much the video accompanying second single ‘When the Sun Goes Down‘ this one is tied heavily to Turner’s lyrics, except this time Turner is the protagonist. Throughout their history the Monkey’s have shied away from acting in their videos, preferring to let the music speak louder. Turner has been a quiet frontman, never really howling into camera or spitting lyrics directly to viewers through a screen. The closest we’ve seen him come to losing control is during his solo air guitar stint at about 2.45 in the video to ‘R U Mine?‘.
But what’s this? In the video to ‘Why’d you only ever call me when you’re high?‘ we get to see Turner in full acting mode, playing himself staggering home from a colossal night out looking for a bootie call. Criticised widely for his American sounding accent at Glastonbury, this new look Alex Turner seems to have been influenced by his time in the States, I would argue in a good way. He’s coming out of his shell, letting his quirky humour be known and in this video that is a great thing. He’s a front man who you can empathise with. He’s done things you’ve done, and he’s not afraid to laugh at himself. He’s that everyman who’s done good and he finally seems to not be taking himself so seriously.
If 2013 is the start of Alex Turner and the Arctic Monkeys cementing their rock star credentials, then 9th September and the release of new album ‘AM’ cannot come quickly enough.