Archive TFC Album Review: Artic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Why did this album divide fans? Maybe hardcore admirers think that they’re responsible for the band’s success (via the Myspace platform back in the days)? The band represents all the positives of new media: interaction, turning the consumer into a producer, a national and worldwide DIY community. Artic Monkeys emerged with this new phononeman, which changed the nature of music distribution permanently. Pre streaming, but post Napstar, the timing couldn’t have been better.

James Baines give you a rundown on Artic Monkeys in the box below.

Alex Blank unravels the reasoning with the abstract in an expert and most lyrical way.

What can you do when you’re tired of hooks and yearning for a story to tell, or, at least, for another movie reference to share with the world?

Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino is Alex Turner’s long and winding road towards a lyrical cul-de-sac. I believe it to have become his signature by now – enumerations, speech enjambments (now imagine Turner actually pronouncing ‘enjambment’ in a song, with that over-everything style of his), following The Story to such an extreme that the melody goes a little bit haywire.

The band went from being curious teenagers to embodying martini policemen, flying around in 80s-like, kitsch Batmobiles, and the music followed. I must admit, TBH+C took some getting used to. Somewhere at a point where the rhythm of the songs got marginalised into the slurry, sulky soliloquies, incoherent and oh so slow, I accepted that this – the ironic pretentiousness; or not so ironic, or not so pretentious? – is one of the things that makes the band, and the album, so fascinating.

It is a confusing piece of work, letting us inside Turner’s mind’s eye, and the music only amplifies the feeling of lazy helplessness caused by the dichotomy of just wanting to be one of The Strokes and actually being like one of The Strokes. Fame still being superfluous; technology still being deceptive. Arctic Monkeys seemed to have outgrown the audience. “You push the button and we’ll do the rest,” as Alex quotes the Kodak ad, which is followed by a rhythm not everyone is inclined to decipher. Is that mockery? A warning? Contempt? Whatever it is, I’m drawn.

TBH+C is not an obvious musical masterpiece, but I believe it to be a fresh representation of our times, ‘lounging’ in money and luxury, and looking at the world from a distance, a hotel/casino situated in space because one is simply not in a position to do it otherwise. Whether it’s because you are too rich or too human is a matter of interpretation.

Who the fuck are the Arctic Monkeys James? 

  • By 2005,  the Arctic Monkeys had not released an album, had not signed to a record label, but they were selling out 5000 capacity venues up and down the country, with audiences repeating flawlessly back to them, lyrics of songs that weren’t released. How?
  • Myspace had taken over as a platform for people to share messages, videos, and most importantly, bulletin posts that showed up on the users wall.
  • Arctic Monkeys became a cult hit on Myspace, with a page with millions of hits, that wasn’t even created by the band themselves.
  • When Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not dropped on January 23rd 2006,  it became the fastest selling debut album of all time, (and still is to this day!) ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ went straight to number 1 in the British rock charts.
  • The band went on to headline Glastonbury in 2007, and Reading and Leeds festival in 2009.
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