The Beatles. The Smiths. Suede. Oasis. Back when a B-side was an additional song or two on a single release rather than your mum’s text shorthand for an arse, for some bands they were an artform in their own right. And to that list we can add Arctic Monkeys, proud purveyors of the well-rounded single ‘package’. As they prepare to return in 2018, let’s look back at the Monkeys B-sides that really should’ve made it onto the album.
‘Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You’
B-side of: ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’
The title throws back to the conversational wordplay of their debut but the tune is as ‘AM’ as they get; the Monkeys strutting through some sleazy corner of the Vegas Strip with their spangliest disco shirt collars flicked up to the earlobes, only to drop the most Yorkshire chat-up line ever onto that night’s lucky, lucky lady.
‘Joining The Dots’
B-side of: ‘My Propeller’
Backing up one of Alex Turner’s finest penis metaphors, ‘Joining The Dots’ was kith and kin of his work with The Last Shadow Puppets, recalling the Merseybeat sound at its wildest and wiriest.
B-side of: ‘Cornerstone’
Even Nick O’Malley thought this unhinged two-minute carnival clatter should’ve made it onto ‘Humbug’. It concerns a party-crashing gent who comes on like Brian Storm’s pissed mate: “there’s poison in his spit, he’ll compliment your tits and leave you to your wits”. Whether he had a nightcap back at the House Of Commons bar isn’t revealed.
‘Bigger Boys And Stolen Sweethearts’
B-side of: ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’
Admittedly, in terms of being short of cracking tunes, ‘Whatever You Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ wasn’t exactly the new Bjork album, but such was the glut of great material the Monkeys were swimming in in 2006 that this charming teen romance about getting your girlfriend nicked by the school Depp didn’t even get a look in, when most bands would’ve built an entire career around it.
B-side of: ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’
‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ would arguably have benefited from a stripped-back slice of acoustic romance a la ‘Humbug’’s ‘Cornerstone’. And ‘The Bakery’ was essentially a dry-run for ‘Cornerstone’, Turner catching sight of his unwitting intended around town and strumbling wistfully about how wonderful she looked amongst the sausage rolls and pastie mountains. Soppy sod.
B-side of : ‘Suck It And See’
Clearly catching the LA sun, ‘Evil Twin’ was one of the Monkeys’ most full-throttle rock tracks, and further proof that if Alex Turner had an evil twin, it was Josh Homme.
‘You And I’
B-side of: ‘Black Treacle’
If Josh Homme was Turner’s evil twin, Richard Hawley was his future self come back from the future to steal his fags. And here Hawley was, chuffing his way through a surly biker blues and firing out a solo that would’ve set ‘Suck It And See’ alight from a thousand paces, had it made the cut.