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“Monster” is the third UK single by Cardiff-based Welsh band The Automatic, taken from their debut album Not Accepted Anywhere. The track was released on 5 June 2006 in the UK and subsequently reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart. It was released in the United States under the alias of The Automatic Automatic on 14 May 2007. It is The Automatic’s highest charting single to date in the United Kingdom.
The track’s music was composed by James Frost and Robin Hawkins, with the original incarnation featuring a different chorus, both musically and lyrically. However the band decided first to change the music before deciding to rewrite the chorus’s lyrics. The chorus was planned to have a fairytale-esque theme to it, with keyboardist and vocalist Alex Pennie penning the idea which would become the track’s famous lyric “What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Is it a monster?”. Originally however, the lyric was used just to fill the chorus until a more suitable lyric was found, but over time the lyric stuck and so was eventually used when the band recorded a demo of it in 2005.
Many of the lyrics used in “Monster” are metaphors for drug and drink intoxication; “brain fried tonight through misuse” and “without these pills you’re let loose”, with the chorus ‘monster’ lyric being a metaphor for the monster that comes out when people are intoxicated.
The original demo of “Monster” featured more prominent synthesizers, with some different vocals, including more gang vocals during the chorus and distorted backing vocals during the verses and bridge. The guitar, bass and drums however stayed relatively the same when in late 2005 they rerecorded the track for their album Not Accepted Anywhere. With the line-up change in 2007, seeing Paul Mullen join, Monster was reworked, with Paul providing a second guitar part, with almost all synthesizer parts removed. In addition, a new section was added to the bridge of Monster, featuring a riff from Paul Mullen’s band Yourcodenameis:milo track “All Roads to Fault”.