A new Arctic Monkeys single being revealed to the world is always going to be a big moment. Perhaps for the first time, with “Do I Wanna Know?”, the band are doing it without having anything to prove. In the past, they have always been under a degree of pressure.
Whether it has been as a new band breaking through, or one proving the critics wrong – they have come through all those periods relatively unscathed. What do Arctic Monkeys really have left to prove now, though?
If you could almost smell the burning rubber of a speeding motorcycle on previous single, “R U Mine?”, “Do I Wanna Know?” is more a scorched tyre mark on tarmac.
“Do I Wanna Know?” – or “R U Mine? Pt. 2”, as it so easily could be called – makes good on the band’s promise to continue down the heavier route of things, as it slithers and slides it way to a climax of “crawling back to you”.
There are slow, bluesy guitars, with the emphasis heavily on Alex Turner’s precise pronunciation of evocative vocabulary, in his now much-softened Sheffield accent. Lines like “simmer down and pucker up” show the band haven’t completely lost their colloquial tongue, despite the American accents creeping into the song. Listening to the tune a few times, however, you are genuinely left wondering whether this change in pace is intentional to whet the appetite for a more lively full-length album, or rather, a work of over-indulgence by a band who end up sounding, in all honesty, pretty uninspired.
Arctic Monkeys are now in a position of comfort in their careers which they have never previously experienced. They have no worries that in five years’ time it’ll be”who the f**k’s Arctic Monkeys?”, and maybe that it is it: when their backs are against the wall and they’re having to prove people wrong, that is when they produce their most exciting work.
Watch the video for Do I Wanna Know: