Arctic Monkeys’ The Car: This One’s for The Loyalist

The return of the lounge-pop prince.

Adhi Waluyo
2 min readOct 23, 2022
Photo: Zachery Michael

If you like Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, this one is a good sequel. ‘The Car’ shows Arctic Monkeys still a show-stealer and great melody maker. Moreover, there are some characteristics that they emphasize:

1. Slight Pauses
You can spot it on “There’d Better Be A Mirrorball” and “Jet Skis On The Moat”. Both have these melancholic feeling that travels you to another nostalgic-theme daydreaming session. The slight pauses create tension in the songs, resulting in a certified slow burner (not mind blower) predicate.

2. Funk Guitar Melody
The Bowie-Esque tune, “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am” welcomes a new guitar sound: jazzy, funk and wavy. Just like their older hits, the lead part plays along the verse which counterpart the singing. As the only upbeat song, the addition of such a part is quite essential.

3. Acoustic Guitar-Picking
Doesn’t really special actually, they only play it as a rhythm section. “The Car” and “Mr. Schwartz” feature this, both are slow-paced quiet songs filled with orchestra rhythm. This sounds like The Last Shadow Puppets’ leftovers, not as explorative as other songs on the album.

4. Piano Riffs
Been there since their last album, “Body Paint”, “Hello You” and “Big Ideas” have these great piano riffs. Your calm, dreamy and heavy-hearted feelings will be provoked, derailing the story-telling style of the songs with no chorus or unforgettable part. The piano riffs are the exception though.

5. Toned-Down Version of Matt Helders
Who doesn’t miss Matt Helders explosive drum playing? I don’t know if this is a contractual thing or not. The last album lost this feature. Fuck. Matt said he’s okay with it, but I don’t really believe that. Bring the agile beast back!!

As for “Sculptures Of Anything Goes” and “Perfect Sense”, for me they only serve as another filler track with no unique points whatsoever. Alex Turner said the former has the “AM” album vibe but for me, it’s not. In “The Car”, they’re just like composing any interesting melody they created and continue their “older, wise and mature” period which may translate to their song as slower, longer and enhanced sexual innuendos.

C’mon Alex, I want to hear Matt Helders killin’ those drum parts again!