Some months back, I listened to an episode of Irish actor and music aficionado Cillian Murphy’s BBC 6 Music guest host program (“Volume 6: Music for After Dark,” from November 23, 2020).
Murphy has sat in on Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour when the Elbow frontperson has been away touring or recording, and I often enjoy Murphy’s eclectic musical choices and his stories about the songs, told in his strong Irish accent.
One such piece from that November playlist was “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino,” the title track from the English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album, released in 2018.
Hobbled by writer’s block after the release of the band’s previous album, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, singer and album songwriter/co-producer Alex Turner eventually took inspiration from science fiction and writer’s block references in the 1963 film, 8 1⁄2, by Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-1993).
In the official music video, Turner plays “Mark,” the hotel’s receptionist, and the song’s chorus is his telephone greeting. The video is bold and audacious, complementing themes of excess, technology, science fiction and consumerism, as well as the casino resort lifestyle. The album falls into several sub-genres, including glam rock, space pop, psychedelic pop and lounge pop, and has some jazz influences and references to the Apollo 11 landing site, Tranquility Base. The instrumentation and production are brilliant, well worth popping on headphones or earbuds to catch all the elements of the soundscape. The bass line is particularly good.
There is a lengthy, informative Wikipedia article about the album that I recommend reading if you’re interested in the band.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the video from the Official Arctic Monkeys YouTube channel:
Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of AZLyrics.com.