Oh Alex Turner, what have you done to yourself. You are not the second coming of David Bowie, he died. Let the poor guy rest, let us relive his glorious cameo in Zoolander in our living rooms, and not vicariously through some self-indulgent record. Hype is already surrounding this record like a misty mirage, Triple J is already saying the Arctic Monkeys have changed the course of rock forever. Being the self-opinionated, nihilistic music writer that I am, I am here to give reasons why it didn’t change rock history forever and has now placed the Arctic Monkeys in the bargain bin that will inevitably deposit them into the large pile of ‘landfill indie’.
#1 – Star Treatment starts the record as if you’re playing The Sims on PS2
My relationship with the Arctic Monkeys music has been one based on nostalgia. Sweet, sweet, overly romanticised, childhood nostalgia. It brings me back to growing up in the UK in the mid-noughties, when British indie rock was flourishing. However this album doesn’t elicit those memories, it brings back traumatic memories of spending six hours in create-a-sim – where is my therapist.
#2 – It’s shallow as much as it is self-indulgent
AM broke new ground. The band did a tenacious departure from the gritty indie-rock from previous albums and into the ambitious new territory of funk rhythms and ballads. Perhaps it was always going to be an uphill battle with this album, we expected yet another impressive transformation, but instead, we got a rehash, rather than a re-imagining. The band has reached that stage when creative duplicity has gone out the window, they can effectively write whatever they want and still make a fortune. A bit like Lady Gaga making a jazz album with Tony Benet, although she did win a Grammy, it’s yet to be seen the Arctic Monkeys will achieve such success, maybe we can hope for a nomination.
#3 – Rehashing the 70s/80s is becoming a tired gag
Its become a bit of a cultural gimmick to love the 70s and 80s again. It’s all fine and well to take some inspo from previous decades, heck as long as you have something new to say. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino falls flat in this regard. It’s like the Arctic Monkeys threw a bunch of old 80s tapes into a bowl, cooked in the oven at 180 degrees and magically the resultant, charred mixture conglomerated into a CD form.
#4 – Mistaken hype being taken for critical acclaim
If the simple rule of economics is applied to the current situation facing the album, then if there has been a draught of Arctic Monkeys albums being supplied to the musical masses over the past five years, there is going to be considerable hype and demand when such an album is going to be announced. For the polarised half who may enjoy the album, it may be simply because of the brand name of the artist, like a good pair of ol’ yeezy trainers. Just because Triple J said it was revolutionary, was it really?
#5 – David Bowie 2.0 expansion pack
Did the world really ask for a Sheffield quartet to rehash a carbon copy Bowie album? Perhaps, but did the world need it? not really.
Look, I still respect and love them as a band. Heck who doesn’t love a listen to Mardy Bum and a bit of AM when you need a bit of blood pumpin’, even my AM CD is eternally stuck in my cars’ broken CD player – bonded, together forever. However, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino just doesn’t float my boat on this time around and I’ll have to leave a 1 star trip advisor review.
Arctic Monkey’s latest album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is available now to stream and purchase.