Arctic Monkeys' Matt Helders says 'Humbug' was unfairly maligned

But drummer says he can see why people were 'surprised' by their heavier third album

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Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders has revealed he thinks that the band's third studio album, 'Humbug', is unfairly maligned.

The Sheffield band recorded the 2009 LP in the Joshua Tree desert with Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, and the resulting record – which was heavier than their previous albums – polarised opinions amongst some fans.

With the sticksman's mum confirming last week that the band had returned to the desert to begin work on the follow-up to last year's 'Suck It And See', Helders – speaking in this week's 60th anniversary special collector's edition – spoke about the reaction the album had received in some quarters.

When asked if he thought the LP was unjustly stigmatized, he responded: "Yeah, but I can see why. We've always wanted to make different records every time, but for us, not for anyone else. I understand why people were surprised by it, but it just had to be done.

"It was an experience that we had to go through," he added. "We could do anything after that record. We're all really proud of it."

Arctic Monkeys are just one of the eight iconic cover stars on this week's special collectors issue, with Noel Gallagher, his younger brother Liam, Patti Smith, John Lydon, Manic Street Preachers, The Killers and Paul Weller completing the set.

Inside, all eight cover stars reflect on their relationship with NME over the last 60 years – the high times, low times and all the hilarious moments. It's also packed with interviews from Kasabian, Green Day, Biffy Clyro and Beth Ditto talking through their favourite ever NME covers.

It also includes a free copy of the first ever issue of the magazine. The issue, which was published in 1952, features all the biggest stars from the era, including Vera Lynn, Alan Dean and Heath and Hylton, plus the big debate on whether two-beat Dixieland music rules over four-beat Big Band.

It's also packed with timely news coverage – including an exclusive story announcing that the Government would soon introduce commercial radio in Britain for the first time. Plus the hottest new music tips – including a certain "sexy singer from America" – future Amy Winehouse collaborator Tony Bennett.

Watch a raft of artists from Bat For Lashes, The Futureheads, Kate Nash, Gallows, Charli XCX, Major Lazer and more wish us a happy 60th birthday in the video below.

You can pick up this very special edition of the magazine on newsstands now, or digitally now. Meanwhile, to snap up one of 60 complete bundles of our #NME60 birthday issue collectors' covers, click here.

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