Arctic Monkeys return with new style, fail to sustain it.
On May 11, Arctic Monkeys returned to the music world with their sixth album: â€śTranquility Base Hotel & Casino.â€ť The album is the British rock groupâ€™s first in five years. It comes after their wildly successful album â€śAM,â€ť which featured internationally renowned tracks such as â€śDo I Wanna Know?â€ť and â€śWhyâ€™d You Only Call Me When Youâ€™re High?â€ť The album, while commercially popular, was a remarkable jump into the realm of pop rock for a band that has made its name emulating punk rock lyrics and sounds. â€śTranquility Base Hotel & Casinoâ€ť is yet again an extreme departure from the punk of the past. The band’s lead singer and lyricist, Alex Turner, trades in both pop and punk for captivatingly strange lyrics and a never-before-heard piano emphasis.
The albumâ€™s first track, â€śStar Treatment,â€ť serves as the calm before the storm. Turnerâ€™s opening line, â€śI just wanted to be one of The Strokes / now look at the mess you made me make,â€ť is the first and last moment of introspection by the Arctic Monkeysâ€™ frontman. The brief honesty is followed by a winding, and at times, disjointed story concerning lunar landings and taquerias on the moon. That being said, hearing Turnerâ€™s admission of The Strokesâ€™ influence on his career is endearing to Arctic Monkey fans.
On â€śAmerican Sports,â€ť Turner makes first mention of the albumâ€™s lunar theme: â€śSo when you gaze at planet Earth from outer space / Does it wipe that stupid look off your face?â€ť The line serves to perfectly transition the album into its eponymous song â€śTranquility Base Hotel & Casino,â€ť where we listen to Turner describe the so-named casino and its presence on the moon.
The album reaches its climax at the halfway mark with the song â€śFour Out of Five.â€ť The popular track describes Turnerâ€™s opening of a taqueria on the moon with crazed lunar theme lyrics like â€śI put a taqueria on the roof, it was well reviewed / Four stars out of five.â€ť Turnerâ€™s crooning voice and a classic Arctic Monkeysâ€™ rock sound culminate in what turns out to be the albumâ€™s best song.
Unfortunately, the album proceeds to drop off with the remaining five songs. The band struggles to maintain a singular focus and in turn, produces numerous songs such as â€śBatphoneâ€ť and â€śUltracheeseâ€ť of similar sound and structure.
The stripped down instrumentals of the Arctic Monkeysâ€™ â€śTranquility Base Hotel & Casinoâ€ť necessitate a reliance upon Turnerâ€™s lyrical abilities. Itâ€™s an avante garde attempt that excels initially but ultimately falls short of expectations. Listeners can hear the artistic intentions of Turner and the Arctic Monkeys, but the albumâ€™s ambitions reach a crescendo far too early, falling flat with similarity and simplicity.
Written by: Rowan Oâ€™Connell-Gates â€” email@example.com