Arctic Monkeys - The Car Music Album Reviews

Arctic Monkeys - The Car Music Album Reviews
The English band returns with an adventurous, heavily orchestrated album filled with enigmatic songs of love, longing, and doubt.

To make a point, or at least the sort of point that Alex Turner might try to make, then it’s good to get a little lost. The 36-year-old singer is in the midst of transforming Arctic Monkeys, one of the biggest rock bands of the new millennium, into a lovesick, debonair lounge act. At their recent live shows, throngs of fans go mad at the hint of a familiar drum beat or guitar riff, scenes that might lead you to suspect England had won the Euros, not that a wry group of Northerners had taken the stage in flared pants to sing about space hotels, espionage, and, sure, looking good on the dancefloor. After the heights of 2013’s AM, a swaggering album that rejuvenated Arctic Monkeys’ career, Turner turned inward and upward on 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, exposing his fears and desires obliquely, through the concept of an elaborate resort in the cosmos, watched over by Big Brother and populated by desperate ghouls dancing to the sultry notes of piano and synthesizers. It’s the most intimate Turner had ever been, opening up with the safety of fiction and metaphor.

The Car, their seventh studio album, is filled with detours, non sequiturs, and lost trains of thought, held together by Turner’s undulating vocal lines and an orchestra always at the ready like a wind-up toy waiting to be stirred to life. But, as with its predecessor, the more time you spend in its maze, the clearer its themes become: The Car is an album of love, longing, and doubt, and the obfuscation serves to bolster its core belief that the simplest truths are the hardest ones to discover.

The objects of Turner’s fascination on The Car are hazy, making his writing all the more rich. He is not strictly heartbroken or smitten, but there are often distant lovers in the periphery. He is not wary of the techno-future, as was the case on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, but modernity is not fully spared, like when he sings, “The simulation cartridge for City Life ’09 is pretty tricky to come by,” burying a sentimental message about the carefree past in something more foreboding. And he works in plenty of autobiographical lines that could easily apply to a man who’s been in the public eye for the better part of two decades. But just as soon as he reveals something personal, Turner quickly pivots away from the thought. Nothing is concrete, and that’s a key point of The Car. Things are not what they seem; blink and you’re gone.

One thing that is consistent across the album is that Turner is spooked, channeling paranoia through lyrics about spies and, even seedier, show business. On “Mr Schwartz,” the titular character is a commanding presence, if a bit of a mystery. The world around him bursts to life, and when Turner elegantly sings a line like, “Wardrobe’s lint-rolling your velveteen suit and smudging dubbin on your dancing shoes,” it’s clear that this man is of great import, catered to by his devotees as if he’s Jay Gatsby, but nothing untoward ever happens. The feeling of being in the wrong place or that something is amiss continues on “Sculptures of Anything Goes,” a song whose arrangement conveys the sensation of being trapped in a dark room, alone with anxieties and echoes, as Turner sings about foreign television performances and stark hallways. Everything is mixed-up, not wrong or bad, but peculiar, itching for a stasis it can’t reach.

The music of The Car matches the uncertainty of the lyrics. After the opening “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball,” which could soundtrack a French noir film from just about any era, the band bursts into technicolor on the funk-inspired “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am.” On first listen, it’s like going from a café in the rain to a carnival. The transition works, however, because of the passionate performances from the band—drummer Matt Helders hums along on the former track like a jazz percussionist, while Turner leans into the ludicrousness of the latter with wah-wah riffs to match. Other adventures include “Jet Skis on the Moat,” which could pass for an Isaac Hayes cover, and “Body Paint,” a blast of baroque pop that has all the swagger and bravado of an AM cut without any of the lurid desperation. By its climax, you can hear some of the scrappy band that rocked out in the mid-aughts, mixed with traces of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’s sumptuous glamor.

With regularity on The Car, Turner will begin an idea that he does not finish, or he’ll introduce something totally different just when you start following along. He has become a master of turns of phrases that don’t necessarily cohere but still feel right: “There’d better be a mirrorball for me”; “Village coffee mornings with not long since retired spies”; “Lego Napoleon movie written in noble gas-filled glass tubes underlined in sparks.” These lines serve as dramatic punctuation to the times when Turner is more open: “And if you’re thinking of me I’m probably thinking of you,” he sings in “Body Paint,” bringing the song to a halt. It’s as if it’s the one line Turner truly wants to deliver and he’s crafted an entire song around it just to muster up the courage to sing it.

Turner sings much of The Car in falsetto. He began his career close to his speaking voice, matching his unbridled, true-to-life observations of days and nights in Sheffield. Over the years, he would expand his range, but when he’d switch to a higher register, it was almost like a send-up, embodying the hip-swinging showman who can poke fun at rockstar machismo while still behaving a bit laddishly. Now that falsetto is nearly the standard on The Car, Turner has collapsed the irony and remove, and he is singing that way for some of his most sincere moments. It’s as if what had previously been an escape is now a reality. A way of being vulnerable with more than words. Earnest misdirection.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Arctic Monkeys - The Car Music Album Reviews Arctic Monkeys - The Car Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 27, 2022 Rating: 5


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