Arctic Monkeys ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is a wild ride from start to finish, but I love it
Arctic Monkeys sixth studio album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is one that polarised listeners when first released and I can’t get enough.
Released five years after their most critically and commercially acclaimed album AM, the Arctic Monkeys have completely changed their style in every sense of the word.
Their newest album, about the titular hotel and casino based on the moon, was one that was unexpected but undeniably Arctic Monkeys.
The heavy David Bowie influence and complete turnaround in vibe caught me off guard when first announced, and i’m going to be honest, I didn’t like it.
They dropped the rock sound from AM and went for an atmospheric and surreal experience, one that takes you on a journey.
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The album opens with Star Treatment, a tame, easy listen, with an iconic lyric, one that encapsulates the strangeness that is Tranquility Base… It’s also heaps of fun to belt out at a concert.
”What do you mean you’ve never seen Blade Runner?”
One of my favourite tracks from the album is American Sports. A song that has lead vocalist Alex Turner going wild with pitch and tone, while the other bandmates are relegated to a supporting role.
A synth heavy tune with piano and electric guitar, it is one that you can put on during a long drive and mellow out (not if you’re driving please concentrate on the road).
”Take it easy for a little while, come and stay with us”
Croons Turner as an almost advertisement for this hypothetical moon building on Four Out of Five. It is the most AM sounding song on the album, its heavy electric guitar reliance is one that I can get behind, especially in the opening and closing riffs.
My most beloved track is Batphone. A song that is slow but also packs a punch. The best part of the song is the instrumentals, soft at times, loud and abrasive at others. Fitting yet confronting. Utilising the whole band and their skills to perfection.
”Have I told you all about the time that I got sucked into a hole, through a handheld device.”
A lyric from Batphone, and an obvious critique on technology in the modern age.
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The album as a whole can feel like an Alex Turner solo project, with him doing the heavy lifting in some songs. I can see where that fits, but I also can see that it was an experiment for the entire band.
It was one that I had to get used to, one that required multiple listens but oh am I glad I gave it that chance.
The album is a masterpiece with its experimentation, different style and complete change in focus.
Now I may have a soft spot for this album. Arctic Monkeys are my favourite band and I went to their world tour promoting the album in 2019. It truly is a wonder to behold on stage, a show featuring the cover arts hotel and casino dropping from a wire, amazing vocals and great crowd interaction.
If you wanted to hear the songs live, Arctic Monkeys released a live album from their show at the Royal Albert Hall last year, that is just as brilliant as any of their studio albums.
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino gets four (sorry nope)… five out of five stars from me.