Arctic Monkeys return with new style, fail to sustain it.
On May 11, Arctic Monkeys returned to the music world with their sixth album: âTranquility Base Hotel & Casino.â The album is the British rock groupâs first in five years. It comes after their wildly successful album âAM,â which featured internationally renowned tracks such as âDo I Wanna Know?â and âWhyâd You Only Call Me When Youâre High?â 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. âTranquility Base Hotel & Casinoâ 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 albumâs first track, âStar Treatment,â serves as the calm before the storm. Turnerâs opening line, âI just wanted to be one of The Strokes / now look at the mess you made me make,â 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 Turnerâs admission of The Strokesâ influence on his career is endearing to Arctic Monkey fans.
On âAmerican Sports,â Turner makes first mention of the albumâs lunar theme: âSo when you gaze at planet Earth from outer space / Does it wipe that stupid look off your face?â The line serves to perfectly transition the album into its eponymous song âTranquility Base Hotel & Casino,â 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 âFour Out of Five.â The popular track describes Turnerâs opening of a taqueria on the moon with crazed lunar theme lyrics like âI put a taqueria on the roof, it was well reviewed / Four stars out of five.â Turnerâs crooning voice and a classic Arctic Monkeysâ rock sound culminate in what turns out to be the albumâs 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 âBatphoneâ and âUltracheeseâ of similar sound and structure.
The stripped down instrumentals of the Arctic Monkeysâ âTranquility Base Hotel & Casinoâ necessitate a reliance upon Turnerâs lyrical abilities. Itâs 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 albumâs ambitions reach a crescendo far too early, falling flat with similarity and simplicity.
Written by: Rowan OâConnell-Gates â firstname.lastname@example.org