Music Moment: Arctic Monkeys

Music Moment: Arctic Monkeys

A concept: a retro, Kubrick style hotel. A red silk dress glistening at the bar. Gold earrings reflecting in the dim light. Arctic Monkeys’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino playing softly in the background.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I think this album is pretty dreamy. Released on May 11, the Arctic Monkeys ended their five year hiatus with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Compared to their other records, this one takes a whole new face. The groovy guitar riffs transport me to space. Turner’s melodic, humming voice accompanies me as I gaze at the stars around me.

This album has been received with very mixed reviews, and I’m just going to add my thoughts into the mix with my very own Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino review.

I’ll admit I was hesitant upon first listen. This album hardly sounds like their previous grungy rock albums, such as AM or Favourite Worst Nightmare. But after listening to it three times through (my rule of thumb), I fell in love with it.

Pitchfork says the album is “a song suite documenting a futuristic moon colony and the exodus that spawned it, told by an assortment of unreliable narrators who can sometimes barely string a sentence together.” Rolling Stone describes the new album as “a lounge-pop concept record set in a casino piano bar on the moon.” What does all that even mean? It seems just as existential as it sounds. While some critics view those descriptions as a pretentious or lazy excuse for a crappy album, I think it’s more than that. Turner knew what he was doing with this album. It has a pretty political undertone and lyrics that can’t be ignored.

Star Treatment kicks off the album with a commentary on celebrity culture and its influence in the world. The album quickly flows through a series of songs highlighting dystopian future, monster trucks, taquerias, and even Donald Trump. Four Stars Out of Five calls the taqueria the Information-Action Ratio, pointing out the juxtaposition of having the world at our fingertips and not knowing what to do with it all.

The album itself is a giant paradox. It’s full of subtle and witty politicized lyrics soaked in a nostalgia that reeks of the 1970s. It’s grungy and gross while also extremely sleek and modern.

Favorite Song: Batphone

Least Favorite Song: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (ironically enough)

 

Overall, I give this album a 8/10. This album is a shimmering work of art, and it really can’t be compared with their other albums. While stylistically it’s certainly not my favorite album of theirs, I really appreciate what they did with it. Despite all the negativity, I think it’s an interesting commentary on modern society (and what better way to do it than with some space lounge music?).

P.S. 8/10 is actually 4/5… See what I did there?

“You can be young and bitter. Just maybe not as bitter as I’m gonna be ten years from now, but I’m bitter. Anyway, don’t tell anyone.”

“You can be young and bitter. Just maybe not as bitter as I’m gonna be ten years from now, but I’m bitter. Anyway, don’t tell anyone.”

One year ago today I said goodbye to the best year of my life. I cried while boarding a plane because I knew I was leaving a piece of my heart in the French Alps. To reveal a bit of my perspective, here are some excerpts from my final days in France.

June 3, 2017.

It’s my second to last day in France and my heart shatters with every beat… As I packed, I couldn’t help but think about how funny it is to fit one’s entire life in a suitcase. (Talk about compartmentalizing.)

June 4, 2017.

I never thought this day would come. I can’t believe we’re already here… We all caught a glimpse of the sunset and ran outside to see the most beautiful view I’ve ever laid eyes on. Genève looked stunning and the whole valley reflected orangey pink hues. An extremely prolonged admiration of the sunset made us realize it was time to begin parting ways… We looked at the glittering lights of the city as I held my breath… I felt the desire to cry choking me. I was happy and sad at the same time and didn’t even know how that was possible… I am perfectly at peace.

 

I look back on those journal entries as though I’m reading someone else’s diary. The girl writing this post does not feel like the girl who spent an entire year traveling France, indulging in the beauty of their language and culture.

Bitterness has been one of the few words to describe how I’ve felt since being home. Even thought I joke about it now, I spent the entire summer (and most of this past school year) in a gloomy headspace which seemed to provide no way out.

I just recently came to a realization that much of my sorrow is self-inflicted. I can’t stop living in the past, and that’s what’s torturing me. So no, I will probably never stop talking about France. It was the most influential year of my life thus far. But I will also no longer live in the past, reveling in the romanticized reality of my mind.

KV

(P.S. Title is from Season 3 Episode 17 of Seinfeld.)