Anticipating the new Arctic Monkeys album is already my favorite thing about 2018
My first sighting of him was up on the stage at Madison Square Garden. Not a bad place to hear Arctic Monkeys in person for the first time. Light and sound and mind-bendingly good guitar hitting arena-rock levels. Arctic Monkeys were opening for The Black Keys in spring 2012, and this kid, this front man, Alex Turner was stealing the show.
This is the kind of band that assumes a position of divine importance in your music library, perhaps precisely because you first heard them when as a teen. Something special about the way music hits you at that age. Most of those songs, which seemed so vital then, fade with the passing of time.
Thankfully, there’s the whole exception-to-the-rule fact of life, and when it comes to Arctic Monkeys, their songs have only grown in magnitude now that I’m older. It’s sitting against the base of a bed in friend’s room as songs from Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not coursed out of MacBook speakers. Remembering how the songs felt then, enjoying the way they make me feel now.
During that all-too-brief performance at Madison Square Garden, it was “Fluorescent Adolescent” that stood out. One of my favorite songs from any band, and Turner transformed it, live. The syncopation he added to both lyrics and melody, stretching the sound here, tripping over the words there, reminded me of someone totally in control of his art. A puppeteer pulling the strings. He was having fun, keeping a well-worn song from going stale, and it became my favorite song that was played that night.
About a year and a half after that performance, the band released their record AM, which contained this absolute gem of a song (the video is linked below), of which Turner once said, “I’m quite happy (with the lyrics in) ‘Arabella’.” A vintage moment of understatement from a rocker who’s always spoken loudest on a stage. Which is exactly as it should be.
Because I’m anticipating that this new album, Tranquility Hotel Base & Casino, their first since AM, will do exactly what each previous album of theirs has done: sneak a sip of my soul, and make it sound like…
Well, you’re the only one who can know (that), really. =)