Since the release of the adored AM album in 2013 and running off with The Last Shadow Puppets, the Arctic Monkeys are back once again to differ the ideals of songwriting and musicality. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is definitely one of those albums that on the first listen you know its genius because it sounds new and different but you don’t fully understand it until a few run throughs later, or after reading all the lyrics like I did.
To start off, we all wanted to be one of The Strokes at some point in our lives. Let's be real, the idea of being in a rock & roll band in the 2000’s is simply very appealing. That whole era was full of indie rock bands battling for what could be, and now is, a sound that younger musicians look up to.
What intrigues me the most about the album is Alex Turner’s lyricism. How does he come up with these combinations of words? I want to know what he read, what he took, what he went through to write stuff like Jesus in the day spa. Also, how does a person remember all those words when they don’t really have a smooth connection between each other? During the first listen of the album, one of my first thoughts was ‘this is word vomit’. Alex Turner is mostly speaking the poetic brilliance that he created-this man is a genius. An intelligent, wise and gorgeous man full of experience and soul. I think a lot of praise is or will be given to AM for this sort of unconventional songwriting because they are THAT band. Many bands have been detouring the standard ways of writing a song but have been in the shadows where not many people might be giving them the acknowledgement they deserve. With Arctic Monkeys coming back and showing the industry that you can literally do whatever you want with your songs and that being creative and authentic with your writing is great-perhaps this will open people’s minds to this new era of music. It isn’t surprising that as a songwriter Turner surpasses his abilities and transformed the expectations that the public had on Arctic Monkeys for this new album.
Photo by Zackery Michael.
Do you ever listen to music and imagine potential movie scenes or just things that could happen in real life? Well, while listening to the album a few things popped up in my head. The first thing was related to ‘the hotel’ where in the club, Alex would be on stage as a crooner. He’d swaying across the stage, occasionally tripping over the mic’s chord as he would sing the title track. That scene doesn’t seem too far off from an actual Arctic Monkeys gig, there’s just missing some drink in his hand, Chelsea boots and a blazer with his chest peaking through. There’s just something about the band’s frontman in the way he sings and pronounces certain phrases that sound so enticing and so alluring. He could ramble on with all his abstract and subtle digs at today’s modern society and the media it’ll still forever sound perfect.
Speaking of perfection, there’s many scenes in romantic comedies where at the end of a wedding or prom, a slow song comes on and there’s only a few people left standing while others are passing out on the side lines. You know, the man up there singing has had a few too many just like you but the party is still happening and you’re in the arms of a loved one trying to stay on beat. Anyway, imagine that while listening to The Ultracheese, the final song on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. It's the impeccable culmination of reminiscing about ‘old times’, seeing the future and overthinking about some kind of love. It really brings everything together in a wholesome and beautiful way, especially the last line (it made me cry): Oh, the dawn won't stop weighing a tonne, I’ve done some things that I shouldn't have done, But I haven't stopped loving you once.
How can they end an album so purely when a few songs before that it sounds like a soundtrack of a Halloween movie. The record definitely has a mysterious evolution and an avant-garde feel to it. The enigma and thrilling vibe of going through the album kind of takes you back to 'Hotel California'…could we go there? What would it look like? Would it be like American Horror Story Hotel but without that type of horror? Would Alex Turner walk down the halls playing Science Fiction over and over? I think we will never know!
The Arctic Monkeys never disappoint. Whether its in the way Alex Turner sings the chorus of Four Out Of Five, or how in that same song the lyrics the only time that we stop laughing is to breathe or steal a kiss- it baffled me how wonderful that phrasing is. Also, the way ‘cheeseburger’ fits way too normally in She Looks Like Fun and the guitars in that song feel and sound so good to the ears. The more you listen to it, the more you notice the quirks in the tracks and it becomes a truly beautiful work of art.
Listen to the full album HERE