If you love listening to a band as much as I love listening to the Arctic Monkeys, you will have realized that sometimes their studio albums are not enough. At some point, you start looking for live performances, acoustic radio shows, mp3s of Alex Turner singing in the shower when he was twenty—anything to feed your addiction. In this list, you will find a top 10 of the best Arctic Monkeys material, exclusively found in their EPs and Singles. That means I get to keep the mp3s for myself. Mua ha ha.
#1 “Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys?” – Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys? (2006)
This track gets the gold. Uncontested. Just check out these lyrics:
“Just cause we’re having a say-so
Not lining up to be playdoh
Oh, in five years time, will it be
“Who the fuck’s Arctic Monkeys?”
‘Cause everybody’s got their box
Doing what they’re told
You pushed my faith near being lost
But we’ll stick to the guns
Don’t care if it’s marketing suicidal
Won’t crack or compromise
Your derides or individes
Will never unhinge us”
We see the band stating from the get go that they will not compromise their style and music even if that equates to “marketing suicidal.” Even though these lines sung today would appear ironic, let us not forget that this was released the same year as their first album! If you have been with these guys from their early days, give yourself a pat on the back and know that you contributed to the fact that more than five years after this EP came out we still know who the F*** Arctic Monkeys are. F*** yeah!
Even though some might argue that the band tweaked some parts of their sound and image as the years progressed, the band has stayed loyal to their initial statement. Just listen to that outro! Doesn’t it resemble a lot of the sounds we hear years later? And it is sooooo goooood.
#2 “Leave Before The Lights Come On” – Leave Before The Lights Come On (2006)
This song has a catchy rhythm, a funky bass, a well developed bridge, but again, the prize goes to the lyrics. They have all the Arctic Monkeys storytelling we love. Even better: complement this track with its music video. It is such a heartbreaking story, but with so many relatable pieces. I don’t want to spoil it—go ahead and check it out.
#3 “Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend” – Brianstorm (2007)
Now what can you expect with a title like that? Either complete trash or genius—there is no middle ground. Fortunately, it is the latter. The lyrics are still top-notch, but this time I have to highlight the distinctive riff. It is impossible not to hum as the track develops. The track peaks when Dizzee Rascal raps one of the verses. You can listen to this again and again and never get tired.
#4 “Evil Twin” – Suck It And See (2011)
This is Matt Helders at his best. With a vibe that resemble that of “R U Mine?,” he controls the whole song from the drummer’s seat. Great riff, a lot of drive, and pure drum adrenaline.
#5 “Too Much Too Ask” – Fluorescent Adolescent (2007)
A lot of the non-album songs these days resemble other ideas explored in Favourite Worst Nightmare. “Too Much To Ask,” however, adds a different dimension. It’s like a mixture of the soft part of “505” and “Do Me A Favour.” The intro is such a beautiful piece, but very expressive at the same time. Really worth checking out, especially if Favorite Worst Nightmare is your record.
#6 “Don’t Forget Whose Legs You’re on” – My Propeller (2010)
Just like #4, this song deserves to be highlighted because of its drum part. You can easily tell that the group was trying to experiment with some new sounds that fall both in and out of Humbug. Turner’s voice is more hypnotizing than usual. Could it be because of the drums? I’ll let you be the judge.
#7 “The Bakery” – Fluorescent Adolescent (2007)
Like #5, this song adds a new vision to the FWN days, like a more upbeat version of “Only Ones Who Know.” Although it is certainly not as special as #5, I think it is one you must save and listen to on a rainy day.
#8 “Red Right Hand” – Crying Lightning (2009)
This track is a cover of a song by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. However, I think that the story in the lyrics is better told by Alex Turner than by the famous Nick Cave. That is not a small statement. You should check out both and let me know what you think.
#9 “Da Frame 2R” – Da Frame 2R/Matador (2007)
This song, also known as “The Frame to Relevance,” was released along with “Matador” as bonus songs in the Japanese edition of FWN before they were released in a single. The bass is the reason why this song is here. The sounds in the lower register make me think of a “Teddy Picker” vibe mixed with elements of “Balaclava.”
#10 “The Afternoon’s Hat” – My Propeller (2010)
The chorus of this song makes me want to sing, even though I am really bad at it. It definitely has the feel of the more mysterious songs of the bad, but at the same time the catchy lyrics make you want to sing along, rather than invite you to digest the lyrics in silence. Humbug is all about the mystery, but it in my opinion it could have benefited from one more song like “The Afternoon’s Hat.”
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Are we missing your song? Let us know in the comments!