Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
Critic Score
Based on 40 reviews
2009 Ratings: #132 / 923
Year End Rank: #27
User Score
2009 Rank: #136
Liked by 371 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The 405

Although maybe desperate to escape the comfortable surroundings they find themselves in, Humbug is an as yet career defining showcase of a band that have never sounded more comfortable in their own skin. And it fucking rocks.

94
Beats Per Minute

With this third album Arctic Monkeys have shown a new found confidence in their ability that has led to them expressing themselves in a deeper and darker way that is more rewarding for the listener.

90
Consequence of Sound

Although some long time fans may be disappointed with the new direction, Humbug is undoubtedly the Arctic Monkeys best album and a legitimate contender for album of the year.

89
Paste
Alex Turner makes bid for Britpop greatness on his band’s best album yet.
83
Entertainment Weekly

The lads from northern England continue to churn out spiky Britpop anthems, though they take a (relative) turn for the deeper and darker on their new album, Humbug.

80
NOW Magazine

It doesn’t always fly – Pretty Visitors’ confused arrangements are a prime example – but at least Humbug challenges the band’s proven blueprint and makes us wonder what they’ll try next.

80
Billboard
Alex Turner has evolved as a frontman, displaying the same shiny vocal hooks as his past work but with even more raw nerve.
80
Clash

The heroic vision of the Monkeys has culminated in a brooding and dauntingly dark album, which is, from start to finish, their strongest and most accomplished work to date.

80
The Guardian
Arctic Monkeys have got a brave new California sound. Thankfully, they've kept their homegrown sense of humour.
80
Uncut

Arctic Monkeys were never comfortable as the ‘voice of a generation’. Humbug subtly shrugs off that unwanted mantle, and in the same deft movement, promises a much more interesting future.

80
Mojo
Beyond the dirty talk, this is a beautifully balanced record.
80
Rolling Stone

The band has gotten heavier, talking up Black Sabbath as a source of inspiration, and it gets muscle from Queens of the Stone Age kingpin Josh Homme, who produced most of the tracks in the Mojave Desert.

80
God Is in the TV

Its a record that may not have the immediacy that its predecessors had in buckets but one that with every listen opens up and shows you something new.

80
The Telegraph

The Arctic Monkeys' Humbug is a brilliant record, built to last.

80
The Observer

Suck it and see what you get: something a bit crunchier that's been boiled up with producer Josh Homme in the Mojave Desert, but with the sweetener of Alex Turner's words.

80
The Irish Times
If you went with Turner with his Last Shadow Puppets side project, you'll enjoy the ride here (even if at times they get perilously close to sounding like The Doors). If you're looking for the altogether headier delights of I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, look elsewhere.
80
Evening Standard

This all makes Humbug rather dirge-like but once it unveils its charms, you’re hooked by 10 expertly crafted songs. They’re unambiguously major league now. As if we could have doubted them.

80
The Skinny

Humbug proves that it’s possible for a phenomenon to grow older gracefully.

80
The Fly
It would’ve been so easy to repeat the party trick that opened the doors to the riches that has befallen Arctic Monkeys, but with third album ‘Humbug’, the evolution of their sound and scope continues on a level that would have Darwin scratching his head.
80
musicOMH

Let's be honest, the early signs were not good. Recording in the Mojave desert, talk of a 'heavier, rockier direction', early publicity photos sporting long hair and moustaches... were Arctic Monkeys turning into The Killers circa the Sam's Town era?

75
Coke Machine Glow

The hooks don’t sink in quite as quickly as compared to prior Monkeys’ efforts, but there’s also a lot more going on, and the newfound emphasis on atmosphere prevents Humbug from having the Side-B blahs that were prevalent on Favourite Worst Nightmare.

75
Prefix
Whether you call the Arctic Monkeys' evolving sound Britpop or Britprog, it's clear the album shows remarkable progress for the band.
72
Pitchfork

Humbug isn't better than either of its predecessors, but it expands the group's range and makes me curious where it might go next.

70
Drowned in Sound

Humbug is a pretty good album that’s pleasingly incongruous amongst the pre-fab boredom of much modern Brit indie. It’s eminently not astounding but it is inventive, and likeably so.

70
Tiny Mix Tapes

Arctic Monkeys have grown up and their old labels no longer fit them. With Humbug, they've finally matriculated out of the class of the 00s, outpacing and outclassing their former peers.

70
PopMatters

At heart, Humbug fails to make that same connection the band once did, where musician and fan were one and the same. It just sounds too polished, too mature — too good.

70
Spectrum Culture

A Nick Cave-influenced Arctic Monkeys record. We’ve landed in Bizarro World, boyos, and it ain’t as bad as you think.

70
AllMusic

Humbug makes two things clear: Arctic Monkeys are serious about being in a band, about making music, and they are the first major British band in generations unencumbered by fear or spite for America.

70
NME
They’re fatalistic, smirking sceptics who’ll never, ever take the soft option. They’re exactly the sort of rock’n’roll band you shouldn’t put your life in the hands of. And that’s exactly why you should love them even more.
70
No Ripcord

Whatever Humbug lacks in middle fingers, or even thematic continuity, it makes up for with sinister gazes and scathing ambiguities.

60
The Independent
It's different from anything they've done before, but is it any better? I'm not convinced.
60
SPIN
This is oval-shaped music, circling around the tracks; it’s accomplished, but not particularly infectious.
60
Under the Radar

Humbug ruminates, but doesn't quite offer an extraordinary reply.

60
Record Collector

When the Monkeys are on point, as on opener My Propeller, they still beguile with magnificent musicianship and wry chord changes. On the likes of Dance Little Liar and Pretty Visitors, however, the difference from AM and QOTSA is so minimal, you wonder who was pulling the strings.

60
Sputnikmusic

If Turner can return to his best - and there's reason to suspect he can't - then the possibilities open to them are potentially limitless. Then, Humbug will be seen a stepping stone. That's certainly how it feels now.

60
Alternative Press

Not every song on Humbug hits the mark, but the Monkeys should be applauded for spreading their wings and not dropping like stones.

59
Pretty Much Amazing

Humbug swings too far along the spectrum, and ends up with no bark and not much bite. If this is what maturity sounds like, I don’t want to grow up. Bring back the bravado next time, and let’s rock and roll.

58
A.V. Club

More often than not on Humbug, they sound like a less inspired version of themselves.

didyoufow
73

Brad was not correct

PipePanic
81

BAND BINGE: ARCTIC MONKEYS (PART 5IVE OF 12ELVE)

...Wait, THIS is the album that’s the most boring album to grace boringville? THIS?!

Maybe I should back up a bit and do some background before I delve deep. Last time we saw the British Boys, they were winning, and winning hard. Their explosive blend of punk, rock and pop sped past at unfathomable speeds on ‘Favorite Worst Nightmare’, and people were just starting to catch up. More beady eyes were on Arctic Monkeys than ever ... read more

BradTasteMusic
48

This album doesn’t deliver anything that I wouldn’t get from a different artist. Alex Turner manages to ruin every song he is on with awful vocals, really unfocused lyrics and emotions, and just a dry overall presence

The only thing saving this album is some cool riffs or breakdowns occasionally. That’s literally it

This is a small review in comparison to my full 40 minute reaction. I thought my reaction was hilarious and even if you disagree with my opinion please check it ... read more

kojzelle
NR

UGHHHHHHhh I need Alex Turner in the crying lightning music video so badly

LLillico
80

So solid.

JairenAOTY
83

i wanna play some of that 'umbug music.
a bit conflicted on this project. some of it just sounds way too dark, kinda lika favourite worst nightmare did, but a bit more dull... stuff like potion approaching are a prime example of this. just songs that don't really have anything going for them.

still, every track on this is at least "decent" and most of them are actually pretty good! i feel like 77 is actually quite fair for this album, but there's some actual BANGERS on here (like ... read more

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