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Humbug

4.1 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 25, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

'Humbug,' the 3rd album from Sheffield's Arctic Monkeys finds the band brimming with vim, vigor and new ideas. They brought in a new production accomplice, Josh Homme, for some of the recording. He generously hosted and produced tracks with them at his Joshua Tree studio. Then they rejoined forces with James Ford, producer of the previous 2 Arctic Monkeys and Last Shadow Puppets albums, in Brooklyn, NY to complete the tracks that became 'Humbug.' The album is stunning set of songs both heavier and lush than previous albums but still full of the Monkeys usual punch and vitality.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 25, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B002EWD08Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,804 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A7sus4 on August 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Into a new studio in the desert after 2 years, the AMs team with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) in the producers chair to deliver another great album, possibly their best to date. The lyric style and subjects remain the same but the delivery and musical envelope have matured and expanded adding weight and a welcome breath of unpredictability. Judging by the quality of the song writing, the AMs could've easily tossed off another record like their debut or FWN, but instead they take more of a "been there done that" approach and explore other influences and moods to expand their sound. The result is unmistakably AMs, but indeed the Hommes' influence is heard and it works very well. The album is a fantastic grower that over time reveals judicious sonic layering, some of their strongest melodies, interesting and less typical beats, and overall more ambitious song execution. Simultaneously haunting and jubilant the AMs have hit their third album on the head; a challenge always more difficult after avoiding the sophomore slump, which of course they did with flying colors.
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Format: Audio CD
At first this album seems too slow and different to be appreciated as much as the previous two efforts. However, after 2 or 3 listens it really becomes a fantastic display of Arctic Monkeys' incredible musical talent. This album creeps up on you and eventually you start playing the songs over and over in your head just like all the other Arctic Monkeys songs to date. Though at first it may seem void of hooks or energy on second, third, fourth listen it is clearly there and as good as ever.

Track 1. My Propeller: Fantastic opener. Starts out slow and builds up to a fantastic climax, setting the tone for the rest of the album. The drums are catchy and the lyrics as good as ever. 4.5/5
Track 2. Crying Lightning: Everyone knows enough about this song already, it's good. 5/5
Track 3. Dangerous Animals: This song took me a couple listens to enjoy but the drums that kick in towards the final third of the song really seal the deal for me. It's a lot catchier than it seems at first and is one of the stand out tracks in my opinion. 5/5
Track 4. Secret Door: Seems to be an early favorite among the fans. Unlike most of the other songs on "Humbug", this one starts out with lots of energy and a great full sound and then builds down to a surprisingly catchy hook. 5/5
Track 5. Potion Approaching: Probably one of the least radio friendly songs on the album, still has a very full sound and grows on you after a few listens. 4/5
Track 6. Fire and the Thud: Amazing atmosphere in this song, and a very subtle build towards the end. This one is DEFINITELY a grower, you may disregard it at first but, trust me, that's a mistake. Beautiful work. 5/5
Track 7. Cornerstone: Another early fan favorite, easy to sing along too, somewhat reminiscent of Fluorescent Adolescent, Mardy Bum, etc.
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Format: Audio CD
Heavy and dark best describes the Arctic Monkeys new sound on their third CD. Despite their protestations to the contrary, they sound more mature and fans of their previously more frenetic fare ("I bet you look good on the dancefloor", "Brianstorm" to mention a few) may be sorely disappointed. It falls somewhere between the Arctic Monkeys sound of old and lead vocalist Alex Turner's more symphonic side project Last Shadow Puppets.

The CD comprises just 10 tracks, opening with "My propeller" which finds Alex Turner practically crooning to a gently rocking backdrop. "My propeller won't spin/and I can't get it started on my own/when are you arriving".

Lead-off single "Crying lightning" is filled with crunchy riffs and chiming guitars and should be a favourite of fans of their old sound. Lovely!

Other standouts are the stomping "Secret door" (with a nice acoustic intro), the sombre "The fire and the thud", the charming chiming ballad "Cornerstone" (about picking up girls in pubs), the beautiful ambient "Dance little liar", "Pretty visitors" (filled with angular guitars and irregular drum patterns, the closest to their old sound), and closing "The jeweller's hands" (sounding like some score to some suspense movie, with a swirling psychedelic-sounding coda, think "505" from "Favourite worst nightmare").

Their lyrics, as usual, tell fabulous stories; "The inevitables gather to push you around/Any old voice makes a punishing sound/He became laughter's assassin/Shortly after he showed you what it was" from "The jeweller's hands".

This album is edgy and experimental, and I'm glad to see Turner and the lads not content to remain in their comfort zone. A grower, but one that richly rewards at the end.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't help but think this is one of the best CD's ever... Mmmmmm magical music tasties for my ears... I can listen to it over and over and over. I love all of their other musical work too and I must say I don't which album I like better: Humbug or Whatever People Say???
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First off this is my favorite album by Arctic Monkeys, who are also my favorite band. Now Humbug is without a doubt the most unique and hardest Arctic Monkeys album to get into. It doesn't many songs that are easy to grasp unlike AM which has more radio friendly tracks. A few songs like Crying Lightning and Cornerstone are big hits, but the rest of the album has some of the most unique and complex songs in Arctic Monkey's catalogue. I may be biased to Humbug, but musically I will stand my ground and say that this the boys' best album, musically. Its songs are extremely complex where you don't have many repeating choruses and verses. The songs just have so many multiple parts to em. I am also a huge fan of a lot of The Beatles later psychedelic works, and Arctic Monkeys definitely draw inspiration from that among others. For me some of my personal favorite tracks on Humbug are Potion Approaching, Dance Little Liar, and Pretty Visitors. These are 3 of the most unique and complex songs Arctic Monkeys have made. To start I love the eerie change Potion Approaching goes through towards the end of the song. Where the music slows up, and Alex sings in this very slow erie voice while the rest of the members sing slow erie, "WooWoo" in the background. It was hard for me to get into Humbug, but when I heard Potion Approaching come through the shuffle on my iPod it changed my thoughts on the album. Then there is Dance Little Liar which to me every part of the album is unique, and then there is the climax where the guitar is just wailing, and you just have this epic feel to the song before it closes. Then on comes Pretty Visitors which has this circus feel to it with the organ and the way the guitars and such come in sounds like an orchestral piece. Like I said before, Humbug is a very unique album.Read more ›
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