There are many things Americans don’t get about the British. They drive on the left side of the road, their political leaders noisily heckle one another inside the House of Commons and they call soccer “football.”
And then there are the Arctic Monkeys.
Sure, their latest CD, Favourite Worst Nightmare, debuted at a respectable #7 on the Billboard albums chart in the U.S. last month, but that’s nothing compared to how they do overseas. In fact, few bands in the last two and a half years have sold more records in Great Britain than these four 21-year-olds from Sheffield, England.
When their first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, hit U.K. stores in 2005, it sold 108,000 copies on its first day and more than 363,000 in its first week, making it the fastest-selling debut in British history. And any thought of a sophomore slump was snuffed out in April when Nightmare moved 85,000 records in its opening 24 hours, outselling the rest of the U.K.’s top 20 combined. With all the commercial success and a cacophony of hype from British music scribes, Arctic Monkeys would seem set on being the next Coldplay, right? Well, not exactly — and, quite frankly, they don’t seem to care.
The one thing they do care about, however, is the recently finished video for their next single, “Fluorescent Adolescent.”
“It’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” frontman Alex Turner told MTV News in an almost indecipherable Yorkshire accent. His best mate, guitarist Jamie Cook, wholeheartedly agreed, adding, “It’s probably one of the best videos in the last, like, 10 years.”
While they were a bit coy as to what made the video so amazing, Turner did hint that its concept might be a little creepy. In fact, recently, while the Monkeys were traveling on a train, they say they “freaked out” an elderly woman who happened to be sitting nearby as they went over the clip’s details. “This woman would just look at us, like, ’What are you talking about?’ ” Turner laughed.
Another Arctic item that has everyone buzzing is the band’s collaboration with grime king Dizzee Rascal, who’s featured on “Temptation Greets You Like a Naughty Friend,” one of the B-sides to Nightmare’s first single, “Brianstorm.” The partnership resulted after the band hit a creative wall while working on the track, originally intended for Nightmare. After nearly giving up on the song, Turner acted on an idea he had. “The rhythm of it made us think of Dizzee,” he said.
Fortunately, Rascal was also an Arctic Monkeys fan, so after some label finagling, Turner and the lads met up with him at a London studio to give it a go. The results were so good that future Arctic Monkey/ Dizzee Rascal collaborations appear likely. “He’s done a remix of that tune where it’s just three verses and it’s got us on the chorus,” Turner said. “But it would be good to do something else with him.”