After receiving glowing reviews of their debut, “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”, which holds the position in British music history of the fastest selling debut album, the Arctic Monkeys were under considerable pressure to create an album of an equal or better standard. Many would consider a fall from this pedestal of alternative rock glory a slide into mediocrity for the band, which corresponds with the common and unfair belief that no matter the quality of a debut, the second album should always be better. The bar had been set with a debut, and it had been set high.
Fortunately, “Favourite Worst Nightmare” took the unique and refreshing sounds of “Whatever People Say…” and refined them. Taken to the point of developing an often darker atmosphere, the songs seem like they’ve been given a bit more of a polish and work than older material.
Melodically, the album is brilliant. The guitar hooks and the manner in which they’re layered leaves interesting nuances in the songs, yet it doesn’t detract from the overall quality. The pacing of the songs is held together by great drumming, that’s used rhythmically in most songs to a good effect, more often than not creating an interesting and intense feeling.
Frontman Alex Turner’s lyrics are, as expected, of top quality. He moves across different aspects of life, effortlessly connecting with the listener on simple and common subjects, yet expressing his thoughts in an articulate and interesting way.
"Favourite Worst Nightmare" opens strongly, and though the album progresses through to a more sombre and contemplative mood at times, the songs themselves are none-the-less very enjoyable and well done.