Humbug (album)

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Humbug
Arcticmonkeys-humbug.jpg
Studio album by Arctic Monkeys
Released 19 August 2009
Recorded November 2008 – April 2009
Studio
Genre
Length 39:20
Label Domino
Producer
Arctic Monkeys chronology
At the Apollo
(2008)At the Apollo2008
Humbug
(2009)
Suck It and See
(2011)Suck It and See2011
Singles from Humbug
  1. "Crying Lightning"
    Released: 6 July 2009
  2. "Cornerstone"
    Released: 16 November 2009
  3. "My Propeller"
    Released: 22 March 2010

Humbug is the third studio album by English rock band Arctic Monkeys, first released on 19 August 2009 by Domino Records. The band started to write songs for the album towards the end of summer 2008, and finished it entirely in spring 2009.

Like their previous release, Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug was released first in Japan, on 19 August 2009, followed by Australia, Brazil, Ireland and Germany, on 21 August 2009. It was then released in the UK on 24 August 2009, in the US the following day and in Greece on 31 August. The release preceded the band's headline performances at the Reading and Leeds Festivals at the end of that week.

Writing and recording[edit]

The band started writing songs for the album towards the end of summer 2008, with lead singer Alex Turner suggesting that the inspiration for the first few guitar riffs came while the band were attending the Latitude Festival in Suffolk.[5] Tracks were written through the end of 2008, with recording taking place around the band's touring schedule towards late 2008 and early 2009.[6]

Co-produced by Josh Homme,[7] the album was wholly recorded in the United States. Homme-produced tracks recorded in Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert alongside New York City recordings produced – as per the second album – by James Ford,[6] who also produced the album The Age of the Understatement by Turner's side-project The Last Shadow Puppets.

While recording the album, the band incorporated a wide variety of instruments that they had not used previously. Baritone and slide guitars can be heard throughout the album, as well as new guitar effects. The presence of a variety of keyboards on almost every track was something new for the band, with lead singer Alex Turner recording all of them himself with the exception of the album's singles, which were handled by session and touring keyboardist John Ashton.[8] The presence of new percussion instruments was also evident, as the band used xylophones, glockenspiels and shakers.

Early soundbites of tracks from the album appeared in the band's periodical video diary on YouTube.[9] While being interviewed for the BBC's The Culture Show, Turner and Matt Helders cited Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jake Thackray, John Cale, Nick Cave, Roky Erickson and The Beatles as influences on the recording of the album.

Release[edit]

The first single of the album was "Crying Lightning". It was released on 6 July, when it was played on BBC Radio 1 and was available for download from iTunes after midnight that day. On 4 October 2009 the band's official website announced the second single from the album would be "Cornerstone".[10] "Cornerstone"'s B-sides were announced as "Catapult", "Sketchead" and "Fright Lined Dining Room".

On 1 February 2010, the third single from the album was announced to be "My Propeller", which similar to other singles from the album, was released on 7" and as an exclusive 10" vinyl available only in Oxfam shops. The B-sides on the 10" vinyl were "Joining the Dots", "The Afternoon's Hat" and "Don't Forget Whose Legs You're On", with just "Joining the Dots" available as a B-side on the 7" version.

By September 2013 the album had sold 320,921 copies in the UK.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic75/100[11]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[12]
The A.V. ClubC+[13]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[14]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[15]
The Guardian4/5 stars[16]
MSN MusicB[17]
NME7/10[18]
Pitchfork7.2/10[19]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[20]
Spin6/10[21]

Humbug received generally positive reviews from critics.[11] Jason Lipshutz of Billboard stated that the band "justif[ies] the hype by shifting its best qualities into different, equally dazzling shapes."[22] John Mulvey of Uncut felt that "Homme's role as producer, perhaps, has been to nurture the soundscaping that was attempted on Humbug's predecessor, and, critically, to encourage a sense of space and stealth."[23] In his positive review of the album, Joe Tangari of Pitchfork noted that "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. It also demonstrates a great deal of staying power for a band that could have imploded before it ever got this far."[19] While overall response was positive, the album was criticised by some for not containing the same hooks that the band had become known for, with Spin's Sean Fennessey calling the album "accomplished, but not particularly infectious."[21]

Retrospect[edit]

In retrospect, Humbug has been considered a very important piece in Arctic Monkeys' catalogue, having introduced a variety of new styles and themes, both lyrically and musically, to the band, that they have expanded on since its release. It marked the first time they recorded material under Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh Homme's, influence. In an NME article, Mike Williams writes, "If Arctic Monkeys had never walked into the desert with Josh Homme to record ‘'Humbug'’ in 2009, they could never have made ‘'AM'’. ‘'Humbug'’ was as much about subverting people's impressions of who the band were as it was an album in its own right".[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Alex Turner; all music composed by Arctic Monkeys.

No.TitleLength
1."My Propeller"3:27
2."Crying Lightning"3:43
3."Dangerous Animals"3:30
4."Secret Door"3:43
5."Potion Approaching"3:32
6."Fire and the Thud"3:57
7."Cornerstone"3:18
8."Dance Little Liar"4:43
9."Pretty Visitors"3:40
10."The Jeweller's Hands"5:42
Total length:39:20

Personnel[edit]

Arctic Monkeys

Additional musicians

  • John Ashton – backing vocals (tracks 1 and 2), keyboards (tracks 1, 2 and 7)
  • Alison Mosshart – additional vocals (track 6)

Technical

  • Joshua Homme – production (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8–10)
  • James Ford – production (tracks 1, 4, 7 and 11)
  • Alain Johannes – engineering
  • Justin Smith – engineering assistance (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8–10)
  • Claudius Mittendorfer – additional engineering (tracks 2 and 5)
  • Rich Costey – mixing
  • Howie Weinberg – mastering

Artwork

  • Guy Aroch – cover photography, booklet photography
  • Chapman Baehler – booklet photography
  • Mark Bull – booklet photography
  • Justin Smith – booklet photography

Charts[edit]

Charts (2009) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[26] 2
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[27] 7
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[28] 1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[29] 4
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[30] 6
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[31] 4
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[32] 2
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[33] 11
French Albums (SNEP)[34] 2
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[35] 4
Greek Albums (IFPI)[36] 17
Irish Albums (IRMA)[37] 1
Italian Albums (FIMI)[38] 17
Japanese Albums (Oricon) 3
Mexican Albums (Top 100 Mexico)[39] 23
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[40] 3
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[41] 7
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[42] 49
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[43] 7
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[44] 5
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[45] 12
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[46] 7
UK Albums (OCC)[47] 1
US Billboard 200[48] 15
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[49] 1
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[50] 4

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Source[52]
Country Date
Japan 19 August 2009
Australia 21 August 2009
Austria
Brazil
Ireland
Germany
Switzerland
United Kingdom 24 August 2009
Canada 25 August 2009
United States
Finland 26 August 2009
Sweden
Italy 28 August 2009
Greece 31 August 2009
Turkey

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petridis, Alex (2 June 2011). "Arctic Monkeys: Suck It and See – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Haynes, Gavin (25 August 2009). "Arctic Monkeys – 'Humbug' review". NME. Retrieved 16 April 2018. a grinding peyote-trip of desert rock 
  3. ^ Cameron, Keith (9 September 2013). "Arctic Monkeys - AM". Mojo. Retrieved 27 July 2018. Superficially, Do I Wanna Know? harks back to the spectral psych-rock the Monkeys essayed so successfully on Humbug 
  4. ^ Rytlewski, Evan (7 June 2011). "Arctic Monkeys: Suck It And See". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 July 2018. On 2009’s Josh Homme-produced Humbug, Arctic Monkeys swapped the post-punk frenzies of their first records for ’70s hard-rock clamor and psychedelic digressions 
  5. ^ "Arctic Monkeys going 'full on Black Sabbath' for new album". NME. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Arctic Monkeys Confirm New Album Details". MTV UK. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  7. ^ "Arctic Monkeys Announce New Album | News". Pitchfork. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb10/articles/homme.htm
  9. ^ "The View From... The Birthday Boy". Arctic Monkeys Official YouTube Channel. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  10. ^ New Single Announcement
  11. ^ a b "Reviews for Humbug by Arctic Monkeys". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Humbug – Arctic Monkeys". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  13. ^ Murray, Noel (25 August 2009). "Arctic Monkeys: Humbug". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Perry, Andrew (21 August 2009). "Arctic Monkeys: Humbug, CD review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  15. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (26 August 2009). "Humbug". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  16. ^ Petridis, Alexis (20 August 2009). "Arctic Monkeys: Humbug". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 2009). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  18. ^ Haynes, Gavin (25 August 2009). "Album Review: Arctic Monkeys – 'Humbug'". NME. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  19. ^ a b Tangari, Joe (24 August 2009). "Arctic Monkeys: Humbug". Pitchfork. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  20. ^ Sheffield, Rob (24 August 2009). "Humbug". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Fennessey, Sean (August 2008). "Chimpin' Ain't Easy". Spin. 25 (8): 83–84. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  22. ^ Lipshutz, Jason. "Arctic Monkeys, "Humbug"". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2009. 
  23. ^ Mulvey, John (15 July 2009). "Arctic Monkeys: 'Humbug'". Uncut. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  24. ^ "iTunes page for Humbug (opens in iTunes)". iTunes. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  25. ^ "Arctic Monkeys New Album!". HMV Japan. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
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  27. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  29. ^ "Ultratop.be – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  30. ^ "Arctic Monkeys Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  31. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  32. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  33. ^ "Arctic Monkeys: Humbug" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Lescharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  35. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  36. ^ "Greekcharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  37. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 35, 2009". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  38. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  39. ^ "Mexicancharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  40. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  41. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  42. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  43. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  44. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  45. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
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  47. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
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  49. ^ "Arctic Monkeys Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  50. ^ "Arctic Monkeys Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  51. ^ "British album certifications – Arctic Monkeys – Humbug". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 January 2014.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Humbug in the search field and then press Enter.
  52. ^ "International Album Release Dates". Arctic Monkeys Official Website. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.