Arctic Monkeys Are Smooth Operators on ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’
The 'AM' rockers should probably sober up before picking up the phone
Arctic Monkeys keep learning all the right lessons from “R U Mine?,” the U.K. rockers’ 2012 Record Store Day single. That song expertly, aggressively combined the band’s familiar strengths — sharp lyrics, powerful musicianship — with a text-speak refrain, falsetto come-ons, and other characteristics more often found on radio stations not known for playing British indie bands. Frontman Alex Turner has since confirmed that “R U Mine?” was the starting point for upcoming fifth album AM (due out September 10 via Domino Records), and it’s fully evident from the bar-storming seduction of advance single “Do I Wanna Know?”
“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” is the third in AM‘s trilogy of question-mark songs, and as We All Want Someone to Shout For points out (via Stereogum), the track has surfaced online. Once again, this is very much the band that wisely covered Katy B’s “Katy on a Mission” right around the time of “R U Mine?”: The real-talk storytelling and contemporary-partier subject matter are straight out of Drake’s “Marvins Room,” while the interplay between skeletal guitar, more falsetto, and a sleekly insinuating rhythm section further strengthens the bond to R&B-leaning British pop. It’s shadowy club-pop as down-and-dirty rock’n’roll, which is a rarer combination than it ought to be at a time when Icona Pop are singing about making “the pop go rock.” High or not, Arctic Monkeys have your number.
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