"You are Arctic Monkeys, you’ve earned the right to go and do this."
Greg James has opened up on his love of the latest Arctic Monkeys album, praising the band for taking a “huge-left turn” on the record.
Upon release earlier this month, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ proved extremely divisive – with some Monkeys fans refusing to get on board with the new lounge-pop driven sound of the record.
But it’s found a huge fan in BBC Radio 1 host Greg, who has applauded the Sheffield icons for daring to try something entirely different.
Speaking to NME, Greg said: “I think it shows what a confident band they are, that they just go with the thing they want to do at that time and they can get away with it because they’ve done five brilliant albums before.
“He [Alex Turner] just puts it out and it’s no nonsense and he does minimal press and just kinda goes ‘this it, this is the current version of Arctic Monkeys, like it or don’t like it’.
“I really love it, I love it just as an album to sit down and listen to but it’s one of those ones where, and I don’t want to sound too pretentious, it’s like getting into a proper good novel. You can’t just listen to track two and then listen to track eight or track four, you have to listen to it all the way through”, he explained.
“I was just really impressed! I thought good on you for not standing still and not just doing the album that everyone thought you were going to do. You are Arctic Monkeys, you’ve earned the right to go and do this.“
Describing the “weird” outcry of the record among fans, he said: “ If you’re a true fan of an artist or a band, you go with them and just go ‘alright that’s the thing they’re doing now. It might not be my favourite thing but it doesn’t mean they’re suddenly shit just because I don’t like it’.
“There was this really weird thing where people were saying ‘oh yeah they’ve turned their back on what they were.’
“They’re still Arctic Monkeys! They just can’t do the same record every time. I think we should be applauding them.”
Greg’s comments come ahead of BBC’s The Biggest Weekend, which will see Radio 1 decamp to Swansea for a weekend of acts including Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Florence & The Machine.
Praising the event, he said: “It’s like Christmas at Radio One when we do Biggest Weekend, and it’s like the worst Boxing Day feeling after it! I really hate doing that show on Monday, because we have to come all the way back for it and we’re all knackered and hungover.
“I’ve been talking about Biggest Weekend for years and I’m contractually obliged to say it’s great, but I’m really excited because some of the artists on this year’s lineup are amazingly great.
“It’s a chance to see acts who don’t usually do festival shows, and a lot of people who come to the Big/Biggest Weekend aren’t used to going to festivals themselves. It could be a lot of kids’ first festivals and I think that’s a great thing. They’re just the most brilliant thing to be a part of.”
Greg James will be a part of BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend in Swansea on 26th and 27th May broadcast on BBC Radio 1.