Lyrics for a Lifetime: Arctic Monkeys


Since their inception, Arctic Monkeys have been the sound of a generation, a medium through which the millennial youth’s tales of scandal, angst, and all things concerning nightclub culture have been given a voice. The Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner is a lyricist so sophisticated and consistently poignant that he is unparalleled in the current day. From the intimate observations of youthful fracas and nightlife of the band’s early work, to the maturing introspectiveness of 2013’s AM, the intricate whimsy of the country’s most prominent band has become a modern day marvel. In the midst of the band’s return after a four year absence with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, it seems poignant to delve back through their juicy back catalogue to find the indie rock giants’ finest lyrics so far. So, put on your leather jackets and slick back your hair, here are some of the best:

‘505’ – “I’d probably still adore you with your hands around my neck / or I did last time I checked”

Favourite Worst Nightmare’s closing track tells the story of Alex Turner returning to his lover in a hotel room, simultaneously showing the frontman’s kinkier side.

‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ – “Sunglasses indoors par for the course / lights in the floors and sweat on the walls”

This vivid depiction of a grungy night out is in equal parts nostalgic as it is mildly disgusting.

‘Suck It And See’ – “You’re rarer than a can of dandelion and burdock / and those other girls are just post-mix lemonade”

The title track from the band’s fourth album again plunges into the questionable romanticism of adolescence.

‘Mardy Bum’ – “Now then Mardy Bum / I’ve seen your frown / And it’s like looking down the barrel of a gun”

Proving that north-eastern slang can make it on the world stage, ‘Mardy Bum’ harks back the band’s Sheffield roots in poetic fashion.

‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ – “You used to get it in your fishnets / Now you only get it in your night dress”

The opening line of one of Arctic Monkey’s most renowned tracks tells of the misery of growing up in the typical Turner manner.

‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ – “Oh there ain’t no love / No, Montagues or Capulets / Just banging tunes and DJ sets / And dirty dancefloors and dreams of naughtiness”

Showing his literary awareness Alex Turner channels Shakespearian romance into the modern day.

‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’ – “There’s a super cool band yeah / With their trilbys and their glasses of white wine / And all the weekend rock stars are in the toilets practicing their lines”

The ambiguity here is nothing to turn your nose up at.

‘Arabella’ – “Arabella’s got some interstellar-gator skin boots/And a helter skelter ’round her little finger and I ride it endlessly”

Plucked from AM, ‘Arabella’ is full to the brim with quotable lyrics, this one being the best.

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is out today via Domino Records.



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