AM - Arctic Monkeys
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Sep 11, 2013
    80
    This is vibrant, moody music that showcases a band growing ever stronger with each risk and dare they take.
  2. Sep 10, 2013
    80
    With its multi-layered and complex music (incorporating many subgenres of rock and a great many styles in one cohesive whole), this is a great album for repeat listening, regardless of content.
  3. Sep 11, 2013
    80
    This new album's skinny-jeaned funk, Arctic Monkeys have stayed close to the spirit of their debut's title while minimizing its excess at the same time.
  4. Aug 30, 2013
    80
    AM feels a considerably more self-assured album: heavy in a dramatic and confident way, conceptually strong and not without groove. [Oct 2013, p.73]
  5. Jan 27, 2014
    80
    AM continues a pattern, then: every couple of years, the Monkeys make a great album, sounding tighter and more telepathic with each release. [Oct 2013, p.97]
  6. Sep 19, 2013
    80
    This is exciting, audacious work from a band yet again on the edge of a new future. [Oct 2013, p.84]
  7. Sep 5, 2013
    70
    Their fifth LP is this quintessentially English retro-rock band's most American-sounding record, especially rhythmically.
  8. 100
    Arctic Monkeys’ fifth record is absolutely and unarguably the most incredible album of their career. It might also be the greatest record of the last decade.
  9. Aug 30, 2013
    55
    The Monkeys have pulled off their most technically adroit and controlled recording of their career. Whether that's a good thing for longstanding fans is another matter. [Aug-Sep 2013, p.87]
  10. Sep 10, 2013
    83
    Although it doesn’t always measure up to its ambitions, AM is easily Arctic Monkeys’ most realized record, and one that will further bridge the gaps for a band that began as bards for scruffy street tales.
  11. Sep 9, 2013
    90
    While the days of the indie dancefloor hits from their first two records may be long gone, the Arctic Monkeys we’re left with now are undoubtedly at the top of their game.
  12. Sep 5, 2013
    50
    AM lacks that character empathy: rather than being detached--ie, cool, wry, transverted--Turner is removed (impulsive, anxious, dull) and it is this subtle distinction that shoots AM down in its shiny leather metal-toed boots.
  13. Sep 5, 2013
    70
    Turner's keen lyrical skills have outpaced the band's musical development, and the ultimate role of guitars (which aren't crucial here) has yet to be determined. But if you want expertly creeping unease, dive in.
  14. Sep 5, 2013
    80
    This fifth, however, manages to connect those different directions--the muscular riffs of Humbug and the wistful pop of Suck It and See--with the bristling energy and sense of fun that propelled their initial recordings.
  15. 91
    Five albums in, they may not be a buzz band anymore, but they've become something much more interesting: a good band.
  16. Aug 30, 2013
    70
    "Do I Wanna Know?" and "R U Mine?" are a couple of satisfying stomps anchoring this collection of gold-tinted kiss-offs. [Oct 2013, p.82]
  17. 70
    Their music is suddenly sexier, no doubt a credit to Turner’s vision for AM, and continues to mature.
  18. Sep 10, 2013
    92
    Arctic Monkeys arrive at the end of AM a lot wiser than they may have appeared from the slow opening stomp of the LP.
  19. Sep 10, 2013
    80
    Almost a decade into their career, the Arctic Monkeys have aged gracefully into their precociously world-weary image with a mature album about immaturity, a carefully written and produced effort about the desultory careen of youth.
  20. Sep 9, 2013
    82
    As soon as AM’s 12 tracks are over, you’ll be lunging for the play button again--it’s that good.
  21. Sep 9, 2013
    100
    This is perfection from a band at the absolute top of their game, but this by no means implies that they’ve peaked.
  22. Sep 19, 2013
    55
    AM's wheel-spinning is a bit of a letdown, but a handful of tracks keep it from being a total throwaway. [No. 102, p.52]
  23. Oct 4, 2013
    78
    AM's a heavy seduction, restless and all the better for it.
  24. 50
    The songs are still sullen, smart and cleverly constructed. But too often on AM, Arctic Monkeys sound less like amalgamators than like imitators.
  25. 90
    In the end AM not only signifies a career-defining moment that neatly places the band on a proper pedestal for all to admire--this is where not only Arctic Monkeys have come but in many ways, how they’ve masterfully conquered and continue to simply win.
  26. Aug 30, 2013
    80
    All of these stylistic inspirations make AM an invigorating experience.
  27. 75
    While it might not be the masterpiece some people are looking for from this band, it is nevertheless a more than worthy addition to their canon.
  28. Sep 4, 2013
    90
    A punch drunk brawler with a heart, it's the pay off to a perfect evolution.
  29. Sep 10, 2013
    80
    The Arctic Monkeys have comprehensively slaked off their PG-13 pretensions and gone full-on X-rated.
  30. 80
    A significant improvement on both Humbug and Suck It and See, suggesting they’ve found a more satisfying rapprochement with the classic rock that tends to come with the territory over there.
  31. AM is a pitch black party record, full of menacing pop and grimy, indelible grooves drowned in bourbon.
  32. 80
    There is a depth--a willingness to experiment, a refusal to be pigeonholed--that rewards repeated listens and makes this their most coherent, most satisfying album since their debut. Where they go next is anybody's guess.
  33. A sassy self-overhaul, AM issues lubricious R&B come-ons over a self-assured narrative arc with personality and open potential cannily spliced.
  34. AM is a tight and focused record that sounds huge and retains Turner’s personality and charm in a way previous releases haven’t always done.
  35. Sep 6, 2013
    90
    It’s the romantic last dance of an album that shows that they’re still the same old Monkeys. Just dressed up slicker and sexier.
  36. 83
    They’ve evolved certain factors of their sound and ventured into new territory, but AM is not so much a change of direction as it is an affirmation of all the musical elements that made the band exhilarating to begin with--inspired lyrics, screeching riffs and great melodies.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 397 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 70
  2. Negative: 5 out of 70
  1. Sep 10, 2013
    10
    One of the best proper rock albums in a while. They managed to merge the sounds of the past two records into something magical. A seriousOne of the best proper rock albums in a while. They managed to merge the sounds of the past two records into something magical. A serious contender for album of the year! Full Review »
  2. Oct 22, 2013
    0
    A generic, typically terrible arctic monkeys release that unsurprisingly fails in any sort of attempt at innovation. Sadly, it will sell byA generic, typically terrible arctic monkeys release that unsurprisingly fails in any sort of attempt at innovation. Sadly, it will sell by the truckload. Full Review »
  3. Sep 11, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. It seems to go without saying that Arctic Monkeys are one of the musical ‘greats’ in the making, and rightfully so. Their 5th studio album, “AM”, takes you on a voyage through the emotions, the push and pull of every day life, leaving you perfectly satisfied when looking back on where you’ve been. This is a band really at the top of their game, doing what they do best: producing fantastic music.

    “AM” is such a diverse album, full of creativity and experimentation, that really keeps you excited throughout. The opening combination of sister tracks “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?” is pure genius, after the drowsy downbeat tempo of the first you simply cannot help rising to your feet and losing it a little to the sublime latter. Talk about a contrast in emotions! But the musical delight has only just begun, as we are introduced to an unfamiliar track in “One For The Road” which brings together a Dre-esque rhythm and “oooh-ooohs” borrowed from “Sympathy For The Devil” with echoes of “Humbug”.

    “Arabella’s got some interstellar gatorskin boots/ And a Helter Skelter ‘round her little finger and I ride it endlessly” Alex Turner croons in the opening seconds of “Arabella”, satisfying fans of his lyrical talent, before the track builds into an eruption of rock guitar and pounding drums. Contrast yet again intervenes as the ironically-named “No.1 Party Anthem”, which has “Submarine” written all over it, combines with the beautiful “Mad Sounds” to create a couple of tracks that recall Lou Reed & The Velvet Underground (Let’s not forget that the title “AM” is a sure imitation of the latter band’s “VU”). Slow paced, these “mad sounds in your ears” are romantic and extremely pleasant to listen to.

    After the central relaxation of the LP, the pace and energy build yet again around Matt Helders’ drums in “Fireside” and Nick O’Malley’s bass in “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”. The next track, “Snap Out Of It” is a personal favourite amongst the unheard pieces on the album, namely because it is so damn catchy: before you know it you’ll be singing along to “I wanna grab both your shoulders and shake, baby, snap out of it” oh if only life were that simple.

    Arctic Monkeys have a knack for closing tracks. Think of “A Certain Romance”, “505”, “The Jewelers Hands” and “That’s Where You’re Wrong” over their last four LPs. “AM” is no exception to the rule; “I Wanna Be Yours” is a stunning tribute to one of Alex Turner’s most important influences in poet John Cooper Clarke. Turner’s interpretation certainly sounds nothing like the original performed by Clarke, but adds a dimension of eerie despair as backing vocals desperately repeat “I wanna be yours” before a decrescendo into silence marks the start of another few years of waiting until Arctic Monkeys’ next release.
    Full Review »