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Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm NotWhatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not available on iTunes

The Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

One of the albums Jim and Greg review this week made so much news that they need to discuss it at the top of the show. The British band The Arctic Monkeys broke records this week when its debut album became the fastest selling in British chart history. While neither Jim nor Greg can fully comprehend this phenomenon, they both like the record. Jim gives the album a Buy It rating, but admits that The Arctic Monkeys are not nearly as amazing as the hype might have you believe. Greg likes lead singer Alex Turner's Streets-like approach to lyrics, but doesn't think the Arctic Monkeys are a great band yet. He gives Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not a Buy It too.

The Arctic Monkeys are not the first British band to face this kind of hype. There have been a number of UK bands who achieved rave reviews and huge success but were never able to break out across the pond. A look at lists compiled by British media outlets The Guardian and NME demonstrate this point. Bands like The Jam, The Stone Roses, The Libertines, Blur and The Smiths are up there with The Beatles and The Clash in the minds and hearts of British fans and critics, yet none of these groups achieved any major fame in the States. One theory given by Jim: Americans are discerning of imports ever since the first "British Invasion." Greg points out that there was a second British invasion in the '80s, and wonders if it is the very Britishness of some of these bands that prevent American fans from identifying. Or perhaps some tastes just don't translate.

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Greg

“I Don't Know Why I Love You”The House of Love

A band Greg highlighted earlier in the show, The Soft Science, released a cover of The House of Love's 1989 single "I Don't Know Why I Love You" as a B-side in April. For this spin on the Desert Island Jukebox, Greg's playing the original. He says that The House of Love was a victim of bad timing, coming after The Smiths, but before the Britpop boom. The song "I Don't Know Why I Love You" came on their second self-titled album. That session was their first for a major label and took more than two years and four producers to complete. Band members said new pressure to create hits caused tension within the band. The album's first single and some remixes were released against the band's will, adding to the trouble. Eventually guitarist Terry Bickers was kicked out of the band just a few days into the album's promotional tour. Still, Greg says the album is full of singles that hold up, even almost 30 years later. He points out similarities in the sound of Ride and The Stone Roses as evidence of The House of Love's influence.

Go to episode 659