• Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: Aug 25, 2009
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Arctic Monkeys collect their darkest impulses and put them on stark display; it’s another massive step forward in a career that seems marked for greatness.
  2. Three albums in, the lads from northern England continue to churn out spiky Britpop anthems, though they take a (relative) turn for the deeper and darker on their new album, Humbug.
  3. Arctic Monkeys have captivated the post-Britpop scene since their 2006 debut, but Humbug finds the group justifying the hype by shifting its best qualities into different, equally dazzling shapes.
  4. You can either keep chasing an elusive past, relying on your fans' nostalgia, or you can press on, keeping your gaze fixed forward. The first option is easier, but Humbug admirably takes the second, with a confidence that suggests that if their days at the eye of the storm are behind them, Arctic Monkeys' best might be yet to come.
  5. Humbug is another intriguing step in the evolution of Britain's most exciting guitar band.
  6. 80
    Arctic Monkeys were never comfortable as the ‘voice of a generation’. Humbug subtly shrugs off that unwanted mantle, and in the same deft movement, promises a much more interesting future.
  7. Their ace third album is full of Turner's snide observations on human behavior.
  8. 80
    Beyond the dirty talk, this is a beautifully balanced record. [Sep 2009, p.94]
  9. With Humbug, they have an album that can be fully enjoyed by anyone willing to give it a fair chance.
  10. [Alex Turner] and the lads put their trust in Queens of the Stone Age heavyweight Josh Homme to help craft a record that, though not completely successful, frequently surprises, takes chances and demands further listens.
  11. Something a bit crunchier that's been boiled up with producer Josh Homme in the Mojave Desert, but with the sweetener of Alex Turner's words.
  12. The hooks don’t sink in quite as quickly as compared to prior Monkeys’ efforts, but there’s also a lot more going on, and the newfound emphasis on atmosphere prevents Humbug from having the Side-B blahs that were prevalent on "Favourite Worst Nightmare."
  13. Whether you call the Arctic Monkeys' evolving sound Britpop or Britprog, it's clear the album shows remarkable progress for the band.
  14. Talented lad, Turner. Not on this evidence incapable of ever writing quick, clever, cynical little songs again.
  15. Humbug isn't better than either of its predecessors, but it expands the group's range and makes me curious where it might go next.
  16. Since so much of Humbug is about its process, it's not always immediately accessible or pleasurable to an outside listener, nor is it quite the thickly colored freakout Homme's presence suggests.
  17. Turner’s defense mechanisms are as honed and as vicious as his rather formidable bullshit detector has proven to be in albums past, and whatever Humbug lacks in middle fingers, or even thematic continuity, it makes up for with sinister gazes and scathing ambiguities.
  18. These are small quibbles with an almost uniformly excellent album. But at heart, Humbug fails to make that same connection the band once did, where musician and fan were one and the same. It just sounds too polished, too mature--too good.
  19. Gradually revealing its strengths, Arctic Monkeys have pulled off a rare musical trick of their own; they’ve finally made an album that grows upon consideration, a record that feels accomplished and complete.
  20. Humbug is a pretty good album that’s pleasingly incongruous amongst the pre-fab boredom of much modern Brit indie. It’s eminently not astounding but it is inventive, and likeably so.
  21. 60
    This is oval-shaped music, circling around the tracks; it’s accomplished, but not particularly infectious.
  22. If Turner can return to his best--and there's reason to suspect he can't--then the possibilities open to them are potentially limitless. Then, Humbug will be seen a stepping stone. That's certainly how it feels now.
  23. Not every song hits the mark, but the Monkeys should be applauded for spreading their wings and not dropping like stones. [Sep 2009, p.100]
  24. Their strength lies in Turner's lyrical precision, his way of taking a scalpel to the minutiae of real life to make his heckling of fluorescent adolescents, weekend rock stars and scumbags seem like more than just booze-maddened ranting. Here, Turner's words aren't as direct.
  25. Humbug ruminates, but doesn't quite offer an extraordinary reply. [Fall 2009, p.61]
  26. More often than not on Humbug, they sound like a less inspired version of themselves.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 242 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 70
  2. Negative: 2 out of 70
  1. BrianH
    Nov 13, 2009
    10
    This entire album "Makes my head pirouette!!!".
  2. Sep 1, 2013
    4
    This album feels an sounds like a quarter life crisis. Are the tunes, riffs and songwriting strong? Yes. But at the end of it all they fail toThis album feels an sounds like a quarter life crisis. Are the tunes, riffs and songwriting strong? Yes. But at the end of it all they fail to make me care or connect as a listener. A few strong tracks would have made a memorable EP, but they really couldn't afford to make yet another one of those. Yawn. Next please Monkeys. Full Review »
  3. WoutN.
    Nov 29, 2009
    7
    Good album, good album. Unfortunately it is less good than the first two albums. Whatever People Say was the best, good rock en pop too. Good album, good album. Unfortunately it is less good than the first two albums. Whatever People Say was the best, good rock en pop too. Favourite Worst Nightmare was okay, but less than their first. And this one... where is the real AM? This one is too soft. Not that it's bad! No, eally it is okay... but it could been better! Full Review »