|Arctic Monkeys / Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino|
|Add Date:||2018-07-27|| ||Pull Date:||2018-09-28|| |
|Week Ending:||30 Sep||23 Sep||16 Sep||9 Sep||2 Sep||26 Aug||19 Aug||12 Aug|
It’s been five years since Arctic Monkeys’ last album, AM, and at some point in those five years, bandleader Alex Turner acquired a piano. This has brought out his inner balladeer, and as a result, the Monkeys’ sixth album, the ridiculously-named Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, is a complete stylistic break from their previous efforts. The guitar-driven hard rock has been replaced by pianos and keyboards, making for a spacey-sounding record that’s equally inspired by lounge and traditional strains of pop. On its less-notable tracks it lacks the boundless energy and witty charm of the Monkeys’ best songs, but it’s not without some terrific moments.|
FCCs: 7, 9
Favorites: 1, 5, 6, 8, 11
1) “Star Treatment” (5:55)* – A slick—even greasy—polished pop song that bobs along at a slow, swinging tempo. Keeping in with the album’s stylistic change, it’s centered around pianos and keyboards.
2) “One Point Perspective” (3:29) – Pretty simple song—twangy guitar, basic drumbeat, and a high, plinking, annoying piano riff. Song’s end goes right into the next one, so fade out early or play them both back-to-back.
3) “American Sports” (2:38) – Darker, lusher sound. Guitars are still relegated to the background, but they’re more noticeable, and the piano and drums are more dynamic.
4) “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino” (3:32) – Something about this song sounds kind of stilted and awkward. Another song where the piano and drums feel a little too repetitive to make much of an impression.
5) “Golden Trunks” (2:54)* – The guitar—in all its fuzzy, distorted glory—returns to prominence on this track, and it creates a really sinister atmosphere that makes it one of the album’s more distinctive tracks. Turner’s got the vocal delivery to match, too.
6) “Four Out of Five” (5:12)* – The best song on the album, by a country mile. It’s a throwback to glam rock’s heyday, with a sultry bass line and drumbeat. Guitar and piano riffs are nicely woven in with the other musical elements.
7) “The World’s First Ever Monster Trunk Front Flip” (3:00) – FCC “b******.” Kind of similar to “One Point Perspective” in that there’s a repeated, stabbing organ riff that gets kind of grating. Fortunately, things get a little more lively at the chorus.
8) “Science Fiction” (3:06)* – Bristling guitar and eerie whining sounds in the background, and a darker, more brooding atmosphere overall. This makes it one of the more exciting tracks on the album.
9) “She Looks Like Fun” (3:03) – FCC “d***.” The song feels kind of start-and-stop with its more laid-back sections at the verses, broken up by crashing guitar chords at the choruses. Eh…
10) “Batphone” (4:32) – A return to the album’s slinkier, glammier impulses—there’s a lot of empty space between the instruments. Simple piano riff and drumbeat, with a staccato guitar pattern in the background (or sometimes distorted chords in the foreground). Turner sings more forcefully on this song, which I appreciate.
11) “The Ultracheese” (3:38)* – It’s like Turner tried his best to write an old-time piano ballad, or a showtune, and it works pretty beautifully. Passionate, romantically sung. End comes kind of unexpectedly, so watch the time.