On the face of it, Arctic Monkeys and Yungblud could not be further apart. Whilst both parties hail from South Yorkshire, and both broke through when still young, stylistically, they represent two different spheres of the music industry.
The story of Arctic Monkeys is a well-known one. The band emerged as the hottest musical prospect in Britain when they were just teens, and frontman Alex Turner‘s sharp commentary on the minutiae of everyday Britain was something that appealed to us all.
The stories of watching drunken fights in the street, taxi ranks, and the complications of modern love were something that pretty much every regular Joe from this sceptred isle found in love with. Much like Mike Skinner’s The Streets, and the band’s biggest inspirations The Libertines and The Strokes, they tapped into their relative social situation and created something timeless in the process.
However, this was not to last. After spreading like wildfire on the now-defunct MySpace and rising to become the UK’s best-loved band off the back of their best-selling debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, the Sheffield quartet were acutely aware that they could not tread this path forever, and elected to change things.
Although their second album, 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare is musically more similar to any of their others, with every album they would enact a stylistic shift, gradually broadening their musical palette, and opening themselves up to a much larger fanbase.
This gave them longevity, something that many of their peers from the mid-2000s indie scene could only have dreamed of achieving. In contemporary times, they are veterans of the industry, and their last outing, 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino was a masterclass in maturity, mixing in lounge pop and glam rock influences, a stark departure from their debut.
As for Yungblud, he’s very much at the beginning of his journey. He’s one of the poster boys for this early-2000s pastiche that is ubiquitous at the moment, and he fuses pop-punk, hip-hop, and emo into his sound, in many ways the antithesis to the music of Arctic Monkeys. Despite the fact that he is one of the most prominent artists out there, you can’t help but think that if this was the turn of the millennium, he would be even bigger. He’s one of the heroes of Gen Z, and his songs such as ‘The Freak Show’ and ‘Cotton Candy’ have found a home in the hearts of thousands given their pertinent themes and anthemic hooks.
Whilst many factors separate both camps, it transpires that Yungblud was greatly inspired by Arctic Monkeys, and he cites the universal appeal of one of their best-loved early tracks, ‘A Certain Romance’, the closer of their debut, as a turning point in his life. Speaking to iHeartRadio in 2020, he revealed all: “Alex Turner literally said what I was thinking, and I’d never even met him”.
“‘A Certain Romance’ spoke to me. I was on a BMX at Campsall fish and chip shop in my Adidas jacket in the pissing down rain listening to the Arctic Monkeys thinking, ‘oh my god, they got out. I could.'” He continued. “Even then their music was about inclusion and reality. ‘From The Ritz To The Rubble’ was legitimately about a night out in the north of England and they took it global.”