The Artic Monkeys’ The Car Album Review

Isabella Castelo ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Music Section Editor

Many who have experienced heartbreak wouldn’t describe that feeling as magical; however, Alex Turner of the Artic Monkeys turns this reminiscent feeling of a long-lost love into something listeners crave. In their seventh studio album, the English rock band opens up with the most intimate lyrics they’ve produced since their conception in 2002. This 10-track, 37-minute album takes its listener on a journey through Turner’s mind—with him, they experience loneliness, longing, and lust.  

The lead single and opening track, “There Better Be A Mirrorball,” waltzes with you through your speakers. The dreamy intro is romantic until suddenly interrupted by jarring beats, then Turner’s voice. The listener is thrust between La La Land and a doomed relationship. They are a part of this narrative as if they’re watching it on film—an effect not done accidentally. 

In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Turner stated that there’s a, “feeling in this record of a production going on behind the scenes.” The band represented this feeling in their video for “Body Paint.” The music video follows the production of a film—the video itself—showing behind-the-scenes footage while maintaining the album’s vintage and reminiscent aesthetic. The other music video for The Car, “There Better Be A Mirrorball” uses similar vintage effects further pulling the listener back in time. 

On the surface, this album is something new for the band. Traditionally known for their rock sound, they took an experimental approach with this album. The third song on the track, “Sculptures of Anything Goes,” highlights the band’s insecurity in experimenting with new techniques. Its passive-aggressive lyrics asking, “How am I supposed to manage my infallible beliefs/ While I’m sockin’ it to ya?” turn the blame onto die-hard fans who criticize the band’s effort to break out of their box. The song, “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am” embodies Turner’s feeling of estrangement in this box. Listeners squirm at the familiar uncomfortable feeling in, “Blank expressions invite me to suspect/ I ain’t quite where I think I am.” This undesirable feeling is sprinkled throughout the lyrics, making the audience wonder—did we do this? 

This album could’ve been purely instrumental and it would have had the same effect as the version with lyrics. The lyrics were written for the music as opposed to writing music to fit the lyrics. Each track has a unique sound and the band used many techniques to achieve the specific vibe of each song. In “Sculptures of Anything Goes” the unique Moog synth was used to create the dramatic depth that makes it special. 

The final track of the album, “Perfect Sense,” is the perfect culmination of this album. It’s a song of acceptance and hopefulness, leaving the listener on good terms with the album they are now “breaking up with.” Turner sings, “If that’s what it takes to say ‘good night’/Then that’s what it takes,” and the listener can’t help but shrug their shoulders and move on. 

This album is a long drive home from somewhere you’ll never return. Each song develops a plot, allowing the listener to star in Alex Turner’s production. It’ll leave you feeling as if you’ve lived through something, making you wiser than you were before pressing play 37 minutes prior.

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One Comment

  1. Interesting review. I agree that ‘Perfect Sense’ is the song of the album. Well written and concise.

    Thank you

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