This is Arctic Monkeys’ worst album. Considering their previous track record of (mostly) solid albums, this doesn’t say much. This is just a bad album. If it wasn’t Arctic Monkeys I wouldn’t even get past the first song and a quick scroll through the tracks.
The worst thing about it is the lyrics. There’s a thing going around reddit/twitter amongst diehard Monkey fans that, “He’s 32. You can’t expect him to write lyrics about fruit machines and taking cabs after a long night of drinking at the club.” And, like, yeah, but I also wasn’t expecting this:
Technological advances really bloody get me in the mood
Pull me in close on a crisp eve, baby
Kiss me underneath the moon’s side boob
— Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Turner’s thing was always describing mundane things in a clever way and painting vivid pictures with words. Yeah, the imagery of the moon makes sense, but JFC wtf is this? I think the lyrics on AM songs started going downhill after Humbug and their move to the US. 1 Suck It and See was pretty simple lyrically, but catchy AF. AM was very “meh”, but they did a 2-year tour on those songs alone and everyone 2 loved it!
But, whatever, lyrics aside, Arctic Monkeys always had catchy tunes and awesome guitar riffs and Matt Helders is a kickass drummer and… All of that is gone because someone gave Alex Turner a piano for his 30th birthday.
There are almost no guitar riffs, none of the tunes are catchy (except for the bass line on Four out of Five Stars), and it seems like Matt Helders has taken a break on this album.
Honestly, I wish this was a solo Alex Turner album (I’d not care about it as much).
And can we talk about this review from NME? This whole thing about TBH&C being a concept album doesn’t save it from the fact that it’s not good and it’s not clever. You can’t just unite songs inspired by twitter videos of monster trucks doing front-flips under a “concept” and give it a good review because of that. You know what’s a good concept album? Good Kid M.a.a.D. City. Undun. The Wall. Even American Idiot.
But I feel bad for NME, because, like, all the indie kids are getting old and out-of-touch and I’m sure they’re more sad about it than I am. The best they could do was give the album 4/5 stars as a cheeky little reference. Ha-ha. Remind me to name a song on my album (if I ever make one) “Light to decent 8” so my favorite critic knows how to score it.
But you know what’s awesome about TBH&C? All the jokes on reddit.