- By Sam Woolf -
It’s helpful to keep a dictionary handy while listening to Arctic Monkey’s new album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. It’s the sixth studio album by the band, released almost five years after their last album, AM. The band, known for hits like “Do I Wanna Know,” “R U Mine?,” and “Fluorescent Adolescent” emerged from their hiatus with a masterful album for long-awaiting fans.
Alex Turner, lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter for the band, said the guitar no longer inspires his songwriting.
For Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, he wrote songs using the piano. The new medium made for a collection of music unlike anything else that Turner created.
The album is literally out of this world. Turner added a uniquely cosmic influence to many of the songs on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. What is also impressive is the amount of emotion Turner puts into his vocals. While it’s sometimes necessary to really study the lyrics of these songs to understand the message behind them, there’s no mistaking the genuine, raw emotions that shine through Turner’s singing.
One of the highlights of the album is “Four Out of Five.”
It’s a song that takes its time. Turner’s complicated lyrics seem to effortlessly roll off his tongue. The bass line, which is a constant pacemaker in the song, has a dramatic flair to it that heightens the other more elaborate elements. It’s especially a great listening experience toward the end. The repeated chorus gradually adds more instruments and sound effects and grows faster- until reaching a halt where the music is stripped down once again.
The uniquely named “The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip” is another strong part of the album. Almost ballad-like at times, Turner really lets his vocals soar. The chromatic build of repeated line “You push the button and we’ll do the rest” adds an eerie element to the song. Back-up vocals also contribute to the supernatural feel. Overall, it’s a transportive song allowing listeners to lose themselves in the music.
Other great listens on the album include “One Point Perspective.” The piano-guided song discusses how growing up results in the death of childhood dreams. “Star Treatment,” the first song on the album, uses an echoed element on the vocals to make the song seem otherworldly.
With a combination of striking song titles, unusual lyrics, and background music that sets moods, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is a really smart album. Listeners can appreciate Turner’s desire to push boundaries in order to create music so unlike the norm. They also will definitely enjoy memorizing the complicated lyrics to show off to their friends.