And with this, I end the countdown of the 11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011.

It was such a good year and I’m confident that 2012 will be even better. Signing off now to enjoy the NYE festivities… 

Happy New Year everyone! 

P.S. Feel free to leave a message below. Say something, anything—whether it is your fave 2011 moment (that wasn’t published—sorry, there was just too much!), or your plans this NYE.. whatever, really. See you next year x ?

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#01: Don Valley Bowl

…also known as the most predictable moment to make it to the top spot. I know. Let me keep this simple: I know we’ve talked about this a million times before. We’ve, ahem, reveled in nostalgia one too many times now. But it can’t be helped. It was the event of this year, maybe of this era.

Arctic Monkeys came home. They came home and they killed it in front of 10,000 people. Their family. Their friends. The people from their hometown (and beyond). They opened the set with The View From The Afternoon. Then performed Mardy Bum for the first time since 2007. And because that wasn’t enough, because they wanted to kill everyone in the audience with sheer overwhelming emotions, they had to close the show with A Certain Romance. A Certain Romance. Those bastards showed no mercy.

And it was perfect. And I’d like to end this countdown with this little bit of perfection.

Oh Sheffield, is wonderful. 

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#02: Best. Fans. Ever. / Best. Banners. Ever.

What to say without being overly emotional? I’m just really taken by how much of a community we’ve been this year, this era. Everyone’s been really nice and helpful and welcoming to new fans. Everyone’s been gracious enough to share their AM stories. Then some are just fucking artistic (see: Haley & Kai's works) and funny (see: HBIC Blake's blog) and fucking clever— best examples are some of the photos above. Jeez, you guys. You guys are awesome and I love you. Immensely. 

So, to give credit where credit is due:

And yes, as the anon pointed out: all the amazing people who make the GIFs. I mean… 

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#03: Everything was Evil Twin and nothing hurt… except tha knows.

Do you remember that day two months ago? When we were all on our toes patiently waiting for yet another announcement? We speculated. Some thought it was regarding Don Valley. Others thought more tour dates will be announced. Boy were we mistaken. And surprised. They released a music video. A music video for a b-side. That has never happened before.

The video wasn’t all too special, more like an extended version of Suck It And See. We see Matt & Breana once again. Flirting, lots of flirting. Twirling. Boobs flashing. Alex Turner (or was it his double? Ha) riding (a motorcycle). Captured in glorious 8mm (thank you, Focus Creeps).

Then there’s the actual track itself. Man, is it magnificent—‘cept for the part where Alex whispers ‘tha knows’. That’s annoying. For me, at least. The studio version of the song is the most reblogged audio track on FYAM, just so you know. 1200+ notes. Enough to say that people like it. Or must I say love?

Question time: since we’re talking b-sides, which one is your favorite b-side so far? (reblog/photo reply with the cover art since Tumblr is being a bitch.)

(gifs: noiseinthesky, alexanderp-turner, fuckyeahbreanamcdow, justlistenarcticmonkeys | album art: monkeyfromouterspace

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

Honorable mention: Crowd sings ‘happy birthday’ to Jamie (T in the Park, 08 July)

This was originally on the list, actually at #04 instead of the North America post but I decided last minute to switch it up. T In The Park was probably one of their best festival performances this year, and it’s quite special since it’s the one of two festivals where they played Mardy Bum live (I was told they also played it live at V). Say what you will about that song, but it will always be special. Especially when a crowd of thousands sing-along to it.

Anyway, this right here is just adorable. Look at Jamie getting all shy as soon as Alex rouses the crowd to sing him happy birthday. And they not only did it once, oh no. There was a second birthday sing-along (04:25 mark).

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#04: Cracking North America

The boys worked overtime in the US & Canada this year. Going back and forth meant a lot of gigs, a lot of ‘magic moments’, just… a lot of things. Now this, this is tough. I tried very hard to pick one specific moment from this leg of the tour but I failed. Tremendously. I was too overwhelmed by everything. There was just too much. I tried to narrow all those shows down into a few key moments and these are my choices: 

  • Music Hall of Williamsburg gig - 500 capacity venue. The band at arm’s length. The dedication. The most intimate gig of the era so far (competing with the gig at SF’s The Independent). It was a great way to end the however-many-month-long tour of the continent.

But really, I’m just clumping everything into one massive post. I’m leaving the decision to those who were there. Those who experienced it.

So, North American fans, this is your call: what were some of the best moments from the NA tour?

(gifs by ohbutyoureanexplosion, wirralriddler, mattheldersacne, justlistenarcticmonkeys, gusmen

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#05: Alex Turner, lead singer/protector of girls caught in a pit fight

As much as the all-arena tour irked some of the Brits, we can’t deny the fact that there were many magic moments during the UK leg of the SIAS tour— Miles Kane joining them for 505 at the O2 (and having a little lovefest with Alex), the setlist (Dance Little Liar, Mardy Bum, Black Treacle and Evil Twin all in one show? Come on), the slang lesson with Alex & Matt, the acoustic session at Glasgow, all the pointing, all those merchandise, John Ashton’s last goodbye, et cetera. But this, this little moment during one of the O2 gigs that can be so easily forgotten was really nice.

Sometimes it’s not about the big ones; sometimes it’s the little things that these boys do… like this one, basically. I don’t have much to say, just that it’s heartwarming to know how much they care for their fans. Massive thanks to Emma for sharing the story. One of the best fan stories, no doubt.

(gif by gusmen)

If you went to any show in the UK leg of the tour, and you have a particular ‘magic moment’ to share, don’t hesitate to send a message

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

Honorable Mention: When rockstars (and a celeb) fanboy over AM

It started with Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes tweeting about the Take It Or Leave It cover from way back when. Soon after that, he tweeted that he was part of the crowd in Rumsey and even put up a video of 'one of his favorite songs, Cornerstone. Then there was the bit about Noel Gallagher gushing over them. Then Dave Grohl saying they’re an 'amazing band', even giving a shoutout to them live at Lollapalooza ('The Arctic Monkeys are a badass fucking rock 'n' roll band’).

And, if Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t enough, Matthew Lewis (that’s Neville Longbottom for you Potterheads) tweeted lyrics and song titles from Suck It And See and even WPSIA.

It’s just nice to see that the people who inspired the Monkeys (The Strokes etc) are impressed with them. I bet that’s quite the validation.

(gif by noiseinthesky)


11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011 { FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }
#06: Jamie Cook, matchmaker
We had a lot of good quotes this year—some funny, some deep, some have already been said. I had a couple of other choices of what to pick as the quote, and they’re pretty much all from Alex, save for one from Nick—
 
"I’m not miserable, it’s just me face"
"But what can I say? I’m… fearless" 
"Any advice I would’ve given to my 19 year old self, I wouldn’t have listened to anyway" 
"There is always that one band that comes along when you’re 14 or 15 old that manages to hit you in the right way…" 
"I’m just a pretty shit-hot housewife most days" - Nick O’Malley
I would’ve gone for the ‘one band’ bit but we gushed about that already so, I picked the next best thing that stuck with me this year— Jamie’s from the New York magazine interview, published before they played at Rumsey.

I don’t have a deep/proper reason, really. He just rarely talks and this is just a good, funny and well, really useful advice. That’s about it. Plain and simple.

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#06: Jamie Cook, matchmaker

We had a lot of good quotes this year—some funny, some deep, some have already been said. I had a couple of other choices of what to pick as the quote, and they’re pretty much all from Alex, save for one from Nick—

I would’ve gone for the ‘one band’ bit but we gushed about that already so, I picked the next best thing that stuck with me this year— Jamie’s from the New York magazine interview, published before they played at Rumsey.

I don’t have a deep/proper reason, really. He just rarely talks and this is just a good, funny and well, really useful advice. That’s about it. Plain and simple.

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#07: The Elvis resurgence, badboy haircuts, et cetera (a.k.a. this era’s hairstyles)

I know, I know this is so superficial. Nick O’Malley does not approve. What does hair have to do with anything? See now this is how I see it: with Arctic Monkeys, the hair, their over-all appearance is something. It, too, says a lot about the era they’re currently in. Say, in WPSIA and FWN, when they were still young and having fun, the shaggy hair, no nonsense haircuts and simple wardrobe ties it together. But Humbug era is the best example to this. All the darkness and mystery of their sound translated to their look. All that hiding behind sunglasses and overcoats and beards and all that hair. It told a story. A story related to the record, to the era. Or am I just imagining all these? Anywho.

The SIAS era, however, confuses me. I don’t know what they’re trying to say. Probably just having fun, much like the record. 

 It started with the boys looking as if there were still residues of the Humbug era in them. Jamie and Nick with their long hair and full beards. Alex with a slightly snipped Humbug hair that made him look like a ‘skinny British turtle’ (Puente, 2011). It was only Matt who started as cool and continued on that path (with his #BadBoyHaircut) until, hey, he’s the coolest of them all. According to NME.

But they need to shift some posters, as Alex said. So Jamie upped the ante and transformed into a WWII fighter pilot. Nick would cut his hair from time to time, nothing too major. But Alex, oh Alex… he surprised everyone in Texas when he came out looking like, well, Elvis. We thought it was fake at first, that he just slicked his hair back with a ton of pomade but no. It was real. And it was here to stay. At least, for now. *ehem, break-up haircut*

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#08: Brick By Brick audio/video release

Well, it just came out of nowhere didn’t it? One minute we were all speculating on how the new album will sound like and the next—bam! An audio track was released with lyrics so sparse, almost ridiculous at first you wouldn’t think it was Turner-penned. Then add to that, a video— where sunshine and palm trees and beaches and a car cruising along the California coast takes center stage. Cut to a record being pressed. In-studio recording sessions as Alex and Matt sing the same words over and over again… brick by briiiiiiiiiick

My first thought was that we were being tricked, that it was some kind of ploy. What was going on? Who are these people?  Who was singing? (We soon found out it’s Matt). It was too… light for my tastes after the darkness that is Humbug. Can anyone say mindfuck?

We obsessed over the dates in the video, searching for clues at to what it really was. We talked about it. Some thought it was perfect, some of you can’t get it out of their heads, some needs time to process it all. Whatever each of our reactions were, at the end of the day, we were curious, excited. 

As Focus Creeps put it, it is “a simple beacon to the promise of impending summer." It was a promise. And I think it lived up to it. Now, it’s still not the best track lyrically but you can’t shake the fact that it’s catchy as fuck. It calls for you to thrash about, to sing-along.  

Trivia: That logo on the vinyl? It’s Sheffield’s coat of arms. Also, we get a glimpse of who Alex Turner is through a couple of his personal belongings.

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

#09: The constant homage to the Death Ramps

It started with that bloody pinky ring. I remember a lot of us poking fun at Alex for wearing that thing. We didn’t know what it was yet, it was just a constant accessory along with the leather jacket and the cigarette dangling on his lips. And then the Q interview happened and alas, the mystery of the ring was a mystery no more—we found out that it is a ‘silver, gold and ruby goth-metal corker’ tribute to their childhood play area. A tribute, yes, although a rather tacky one at that.

Still, that did me in. Every time these boys go nostalgic on us and put out reminders of where they’re from, of anything in relation to Sheffield or their childhood, I get so silly emotional and love them even more. Just when you thought they’re changing and becoming these full-fledged “rock stars”, they surprise you. These boys know when to look back. Or maybe not. Whatever. I’m choosing to look at this as them looking back.

And if that ring wasn’t enough, they had to put a nice little touch in the Suck It And See video and use their pseudonym in not just one b-side (hello Little Illusion Machine) but two— the upcoming b-side with Richard Hawley, You And I, will be published under the Death Ramps name, too.

11 Arctic Monkeys moments of 2011
{ FYAM’s favorite moments of the year }

Honorable mention: Alex Turner penning Submarine's soundtrack

So, okay, this isn’t technically an “Arctic Monkeys moment’ what with Alex being the only one making the music but I figured to hell with it and include it in the list anyway as an honorable mention because a) I’m a self-professed Richard Ayoade fan & everything he does is magic, b) it has a connection to the Monkeys anyhow (you know this), c) I run this blog and you can’t do anything about it and, d) it’s just a terrible shame not to.

I just have to say—Richard Ayoade and Alex Turner is a match made in indie heaven, if there’s such a thing. There’s a subtle beauty to their collaborations and this movie, this soundtrack is a testament to that. The quiet, minimalist approach of the music coupled with Alex’s striking, down-to-earth observations about teenage feelings and innocence was woven seamlessly creating a perfect backdrop to Oliver and Jordana’s story. There’s a certain nostalgia to it, a certain romance (ooh, Monkeys pun) that makes me want to either curl up into a ball and cry, or scream at something/someone (that will make FuckNoAM proud) because I love it too much.

But of course, a connection to Arctic Monkeys must be made— in comes Piledriver Waltz, that song that talked so honestly about breakfasts at heartbreak hotels. Some might say it was lazy of Alex to re-do a track and put it into the Monkeys fourth, even Richard Ayoade candidly said he couldn’t believe “the balls of that plagiarist” but I say, who the fuck cares? Frankly I’m quite happy with both versions. Still can’t figure out which one I like more though so…

I’m leaving the decision to you:

Which version of Piledriver Waltz do you like most— the one in Submarine or SIAS?