[Review] “The Car” by Arctic Monkeys defines their versatility, a satisfactory return to music

The Car is Arctic Monkeys 7th studio album, and is an ode the band’s journey and versatility, as well as Alex Turner’s excellent songwriting.

Sayee Deshmukh, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Car, released by hit British rock band Arctic Monkeys, hit streaming services on October 21, 2022. This album is the band’s 7th studio album, and the first album released since 2018. Needless to say, fans of the band have anticipated a new project for quite some time, and the new record proves that Arctic Monkeys are incredibly versatile, as The Car features a unique sound from the band that has been explored before, however not to the extent of which is found in this album.

To understand The Car, it is important to understand where exactly frontman Alex Turner got his inspiration for the album from. The newest project shares the most similarities musically with Arctic Monkey’s previous album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Although raved by critics, many fans of the band weren’t exactly sure where they stood with it, as it differed drastically from the previous album AM, which was guitar-heavy. Turner wanted to create another record similar to TBHC and take it to the next level, correcting any possible errors that have turned fans off. So that is what Turner and the rest of Arctic Monkeys did; they created a lounge-pop album filled to the brim with romantic, meaningful lyrics, a major step up from their previous projects.

The album is introduced by the song “There’d Better Be A Mirrorball”, which was first released as a single. The song revolves around longing for a second chance at love, which is only further developed by the smooth guitars and synths which further add to the overall feeling of “longing” that is told in Turner’s lyrics:

So if you wanna walk me to the carYou oughta know I’ll have a heavy heartSo can we please be absolutely sureThat there’s a mirrorball?

Almost immediately, the slow, relaxing mood set by “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” quickly transitions into a fast-paced, groovy mood in “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am”, a track that is reminiscent of the 1970s, as many critics are calling it, “Bowie-esque”.

As the rest of the album plays out, one thing is clear; Alex Turner’s lyricism continues to prevail, staying consistently meaningful, even after almost 17 years of creating hits. Love, longing, and existentialism are a running theme in the discography of Arctic Monkeys, however, The Car provides a new line of framework for these ideas to flourish, especially given that most of the songs are extremely personal, as most of the album has been written in Turner’s California home.

As mentioned previously, TBHC’s sound is most heard on this album, however, what has disappointed fans about that project is absent in The Car. Complaints, such as TBHC’s slowness and repetitiveness are nowhere to be seen, and it seems that Arctic Monkeys have finally found their footing in the world of lounge pop. Some notable songs on this album include singles “There’d Better Be A Mirrorball” and “Body Paint”, as well as “Hello You”, “Sculptures Of Anything Goes”, and “Mr Schwartz”.

Overall, The Car showcases what Arctic Monkeys have been able to do best, which is mixing intelligent songwriting with unique instrumentals. Although they have changed their sound drastically over the years, they have continued to do so with grace, and overall dominate the modern rock world as a result of such feats. The Car is an ode to what fans love about the band, and even more.