Is It Bad Music? No, But Is It Actually Any Good…Probably Not
Ahh…Arctic Monkeys post-AM, where to begin?
The British group endeared themselves to an entire generation of music fans with a handful of albums that ranged from underrated fan-loved LPs like Humbug in 2009, to indie classics in 2011’s Suck It and See and 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare. They experienced worldwide crossover success with their throwback rocking album AM in 2013.
Where they started to deviate from the sound that made them iconic and built them a huge global following is with the 2018 AM follow-up entitled Tranquility Hotel Base and Casino, a sort of concept album that has a controversial range of opinions from both fans and critics. It’s likely the growing cult love for this album will have it better remembered than the actual quality of the music warrants.
So it was with hungry anticipation and perhaps slight fear that fans awaited to hear this year’s latest LP The Car.
What we got was even more bizarre than I think even the most deviant fan expected.
The Car is once again an Alex Turner-written concept album that only slightly moves on from the 70s lounge inspired Tranquility. There’s a lot more funk groove (primarily in melody, not rhythm) and maybe a little more distortion, but expect a fair amount of falsetto Alex Turner, and perhaps the most strangely this absolutely plodding rhythm section with absolutely nothing to positively contribute, and a ubiquitous string section in the background that continues to linger long past its welcome.
In total, there’s almost no distinction between any of the individual songs on the album. One giant song that doesn’t really work. That’s the true gamble of a concept album. If the concept doesn’t work, the whole body of work suffers.
Now is this necessarily bad music? Probably not. It’s well produced (obviously), but I think even fans of ethereal 70s funk wouldn’t find anything particularly life-changing from The Car. The two stars might be generous here, but I will give it a little credit in that there is probably some audience here that can appreciate it.