I discovered the Arctic Monkeys' song "Riot Van" on Pandora's (Free Internet radio!) channel for The Shins. I admit to being a little obsessed with it. I downloaded the song from iTunes and have been playing it over and over again. As a writer, I am drawn to good lyrics, and these lyrics are like cheeky poetry:
"Have you been drinking son, you don't look old enough to me"
"I'm sorry officer is there a certain age you're supposed to be?.. nobody told me"
Up rolled the riot van
And these lads just wind the coppers up
Ask why they don't catch proper crooks
Get their address and their name's took
But they couldn't care less
You wouldn't think a song about harassing police officers for a laugh and then catching a beat down would work, sung over plaintive and soulful music. But somehow it does.
I have decided that a song like this could only work performed by a band of English lads from the suburbs of Sheffield. An American band couldn't pull off the innocent roguishness. Besides, American tales that begin with young men running from police late at night in the city often end permanently and mostly tragically.