Arctic Monkeys–If You Found This It’s Probably Too Late

It’s been 10 years since the release of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Arctic Monkeys have been so transformed, it’s sometimes hard to remember where they started.  It’s become more of an accusation than a compliment to recall the way they captured being young and British with such painful accuracy.  But that description belies what truly made them stand out in a sea of bands trying to do exactly the same thing.  The Monkeys were musically adventurous and willing to push the aggression, elements that were reflected in and enhanced by Alex Turner’s freakishly excellent lyrics.  The band always used b-sides as opportunities to experiment, resulting in some of their most confident and exciting output.  This was never truer than on If You Found This It’s Probably Too Late.  The song accompanied Brianstorm, the first single off Favorite Worst Nightmare.  The band channeled unimaginable pressure at following-up their smash debut into a blistering minute-and-a-half tackling self-doubt and impostor syndrome.  It begins with uncanny, waltzing strings before Matt Helders propels the track into a screeching, shredding monster with a speed metal drumline.  Then Turner unleashes four couplets that would obliterate every other song ever written about industry pressures and the perils of making it big:

I’m a constant correction, a fraud, a fraud/Someone’s perception, trying not to bore                            I’m a cold-hearted kidder, applaud, applaud/If you’re the highest bidder I’m yours

You think it were a pathetic set/But you’re not sure of the etiquette                                                          Oh, we think that were a pathetic set/But we’re not sure of the etiquette 

And if you found this, it’s probably too late/Clinically cynical, hereditary hate                                         If you found this, it’s probably too late/Approaching the pinnacle and runnin’ out of mates                                                                                            

If we concentrate on being off the cuff/Not sure we’re ready, but probably rough                   Frightened that honesty isn’t enough/And it’s nothin’ on the early stuff

It’s scathing, painful, on the nose stuff, delivered with breathless frustration at break-neck speed.  The song only lets up when Turner is seemingly out of air, leaving just enough room for a lacerating riff by Jamie Cook.  Almost every element of this track would be repurposed to great effect at some point on Favorite Worst Nightmare, but IYFTIPTL manages to marry them together to reach a level of exhilaration seldom matched by the band.

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