When Arctic Monkeys released their sixth studio album back in May, it became clear that the garage-rock, club-frequenting Sheffield natives had seriously changed their sound. AM has never been opposed to switching things up, but over the last decade, they have maintained their signature beats and guitar riffs. With their latest album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the Arctic Monkeys have eased up on the bass and drums. The Brit band just released a new b-side song called ‘Anyways,’ and fans of the band’s new slow-burning vibe won’t be disappointed. The previously unreleased track carries the same lyric-heavy feel as the rest of the album, and has the same piano base that frontman and lyrical mastermind Alex Turner has favored during this most recent album cycle. With Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, he introduced the rest of the band to weird verses and almost half-crooning melodies, and it’s clear that they have yet to stray this far from their core sounds. Alex gave up his leather jackets and cool-guy sunglasses for matching 1970’s-esque suit sets, and well, the world hasn’t been the same since. His new obsession with mafia fashion and Stanley Kubrick t-shirts should have been a tip off for what the next album was going to sound like. Hindsight, right?
Tranquility was undoubtedly their most divisive album to date, as fans were missing the hard beats of their previous albums. The band has certainly released some more mellow-sounding tracks over the years, but this is the first time they have completely abandoned the sound that made them so famous. The album may have been the most lyrically complex and cohesive that Alex has ever produced, but it fell short at delivering what the majority of their fans wanted. The entire album makes one feel as if they are sitting in a 1970s jazz lounge while smoking, and while that’s not necessarily a bad feeling to evoke through music, it left some feeling robbed of a true Arctic Monkeys album experience. Usually the band offers a nice variety of their classic alt-rock tunes and more relaxed melodies, but the tracks of Tranquility proved to be heartbreakingly derivative of each other. This switch was a shock, and the new track ‘Anyways’ is no different. The song was first announced alongside a mini documentary, Warp Speed Chic, directed by filmmaker Ben Chappell, which dives right into the band’s making of their latest album. The mini film itself follows the same lounge-y, ‘70s vibe that the entire record has, so fans of the band’s new direction will feel very satisfied with this behind the scenes look.
Put simply, ‘Anyways’ is a reminder that the Alex Turner has entered into the most self-aware and introspective era of his entire musical career, and there’s a pretty good chance that he won’t be returning to his loud and boisterous self anytime soon. There’s a new Arctic Monkeys sound, and if we are to learn anything from the new b-side track, it’s that this new phase is here to stay.