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Music

The album title that the Arctic Monkeys regret

@josephtaysom

Arctic Monkeys have created some album titles from left-field, with 2018’s sci-fi concept effort Tranquility Hotel Base & Casino and their debut offering, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, proving that perfectly However, neither of the aforementioned is a source of regret for the band, unlike one specific LP in their canon. 

In 2011, the Sheffield band were forced to understand first-hand the cultural differences between America and the United Kingdom following the release of their fourth album, Suck It and See. In Britain, it’s a saying about trying something unknown for the first time and is a metaphor related to an old-fashioned boiled sweet.

However, the phrase simply doesn’t exist in America, and the charming vintage expression was lost on the majority of their US-based followers. Instead, many incorrectly believed the title was related to a sexual act, which wasn’t the case at all, and Arctic Monkeys were forced to defend the title during their whole promotional run.

In fact, many stores in America refused to sell the album with the provocative title on display and instead covered it up with a sticker featuring the band’s logo. “They think it is rude, disrespectful and they’re putting a sticker over it in America in certain stores, big ones,” Alex Turner said.

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Suck It and See wasn’t even a title they were particularly married to, but it made sense as it’s a track from the album, and they’d later regret their choice of song to make the titular one. Drummer Matt Helders told NME: “Although we had a lot of fun making that album, there’s always things you wish you hadn’t done, like calling it Suck It And See.”

He added: “It caused a stir, mainly in America, ‘cos they thought we were being rude. It would have been easier to call it (after album track) ‘Black Treacle’ or something else and avoid answering questions about it. It took a lot of explaining.”

The reaction to the album title was undoubtedly over the top, and it’s not the first time the phrase has been used in popular culture. It also appears in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 masterpiece, A Clockwork Orange. ‘Suck It And See’ is written on the wall as Alex DeLarge waits outside of a broken lift in his apartment building, which perhaps inspired Turner to embed it into his lyrics.

When Arctic Monkeys were titling their next album, understandably, they decided to play it safe by simply calling it AM. In addition, coincidentally, the simply-named record helped them finally break the American market at their fifth time of asking.

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