Arctic Monkeys' new album is out now and sorry, but it's quite boring
The only exciting part of the album is that there's a song titled 'The World's First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip'.
Back when Arctic Monkeys announced their new album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, I was overjoyed. I've been a fan of the Alex Turner-led UK group for a while now; I loved their early stuff, and while everyone was going on about how their most recent album AM was them 'selling out into commercialism', I was too busy rinsing Arabella and R U Mine? to really care. I could picture it now, them returning with a bold new album that furthers the sound of AM which will then be followed by a victory lap Australian tour with Falls Festival or something like that - I was stoked.
Then I read they would not be releasing any singles in the lead-up to the album, and I was confused. Surely that's the worst possible way to promote an album? When it eventually drops people will care, but there will also be a lot of people who totally forgot that they were a thing without a Do I Wanna Know?-esque lead single being thumped by triple j every two minutes. Now, with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino finally in our hands, it's so much more obvious why they never released prior singles - because it's all just boring as hell.
It's Alex Turner at his wanky, self-indulgent peak. The lead single Star Treatment combines this soft elevator music-like instrumental with Alex Turner's spoken vocals that talk down on you like he's an arty, cultured 20-something who just came back from Berlin, while your definition of 'culture' is downing a bottle of wine or three in a backyard of someone who you've only just met 10 minutes prior. "What do you mean you've never seen Blade Runner?" is literally a line on the song, which I think sums it up perfectly really. Alex Turner is better than you and he knows it, and he's damn-right going to remind you of it every opportunity he gets.
The album doesn't really get any better from there, in fact, it doesn't really get any worse either - that's sort-of what happens when all 11 tracks of your album more or less sound exactly the same. One Point Perspective is a soft piano-backed number with one of the only guitar melodies in the whole album, while tracks like Golden Trunks sound like the Arctic Monkeys trying to replicate the epicness of Queen without anything that actually makes Queen's music so big and epic. Even The World's First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip, possibly the most exciting song name ever, still sounds like a Play School children's riddle in comparison to their earlier stuff. The stadium-sized rock of Arctic Monkeys is gone, something which is 100% perfectly fine - artists change their image and tastes over long recording periods - but TBH&C feels more like background music than it does something that attracts your attention right away, and that's slightly less cool.
Gone are the days when Arctic Monkeys would down tinnies in the recording studio and write about rock and roll. Now, they all sit in leather chairs with a glass of red and sing about taxes, lawn bowls, and electricity bills. It's been a great ride, but the glory days of Arctic Monkeys are over, and it's time to hand in the leather jackets and hair gel.
Sorry guys, better luck next time (I still love you tho).
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