Why does the British music press hate British music so much? I ask because after listening to the Arctic Monkeys debut album "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" that is the only conclusion I can reach.
Let me say that the "Whatever People Say..." is a good album. It is a strong debut from a young band, and under normal circumstances one could enjoy it and look forward to seeing how the band matures. Of course these aren't normal circumstances. I know a lot of people have seen this list, but the absurdity of it can't be overstated. According to NME, the Arctic Monkeys debut album is better than: every Beatles album, every Clash album, every Rolling Stone album, and every Radiohead album. In fact, "Whatever People Say..." is apparently better than every British album released before 1977. This is obviously false. So obvious in fact that I have to assume malice towards the Arctic Monkeys. If the writers for NME really believe that the Arctic Monkeys are this good, then they should be fired.
This kind of press evokes only one kind of reaction, put succintly by The Ghost in this post, "I preemptively dislike the Arctic Monkeys. Am I being unfair?". I don't blame The Ghost, I had the same reaction and I think it is rational. Even if one doesn't decided to pre-dislike the album, they are going to judge it with a harsher eye.
I just think this does a disservice to a young band like the Arctic Monkeys, particularly on a debut album. This album doesn't stand up to level of scrutiny that follows from the British music press's bold proclamaitions, and that can only result in backlash. We all know that the backlash is coming, and it will be bad. This is a shame, because I think that given time, the Arctic Monkeys could develop and make some great music. This is where I see malice by the British music press. They have set this band up to disappear in a year.
Maybe I am wrong, but I was thinking of the DCeiver's review the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show in October, 2005. At the end, he writes:
"What I'm trying to say, is that if you live in New York City, and you love a band dearly, set them free. Get them on the road. Get their shit tested in front of crowds that don't have a stake in their music."I think the point is a good one. Musicians should go out and play and get some experience before they are carved on Mount Rockmore. I just think it is easier to learn sitting at your desk than standing at the blackboard.
So after "Whatever People Say..." lets you down, remember that the British music press told you it was one of the greatest albums of all time, and not the Arctic Monkeys. Not that any of this is surprising, these people still believe that Oasis matters.