Sunday, September 4, 2011

Alex Turner’s musical genius

Let’s break the bookwormism for a while! How come this dang blog doesn't have an appreciation post about one of the most talented lyricists in the rock music industry today? This mistake should be rectified now. :p

hair porn.

Meet Alex Turner: the lyricist and lead vocalist of the indie rock band Arctic Monkeys. I readily fell in love with them when for the first time I heard their first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006). I heard it became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history, surpassing Kula Shaker's K and remains the fastest-selling debut album for a band in the UK. (I regarded them as rock music deities before, and I dare say it’s still the case up to now).

Since then they have released three more albums: Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007), Humbug (2009), and Suck it and See (2011). Alex Turner also works in a side-project with Miles Kane (vox of the disbanded The Rascals) called The Last Shadow Puppets.

The Last Shadow Puppets
The Last Shadow Puppets

Among Alex’s many musical talents, the best, in my opinion, would be his writing. There’s just something about the way he words every line in his compositions—a poetic quality that is so rare, since nowadays most artists believe that people are magnetized mostly by ear candies and catchy tunes, only seconded by the actual art of writing the lyrics. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate bluntness; there’s a multitude of singers that produce songs with lyrics that are straightforward and sensible and even deeply moving, but the literary dork in me always tend to seek the beauty of poetry even in music. :p

For proofs of his genius, I’m going to pick fragments of lyrics from Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, and his solo songs (ones he penned as soundtracks for the Richard Ayoade British movie, Submarine).

01. Piledriver Waltz- Alex Turner

Piledriver Waltz- Alex Turner
I etched the face of a stopwatch on the back of a raindrop
And did a swap for the sand in an hourglass
I heard an unhappy ending It sorta sounds like you're leaving
I heard the piledriver waltz
It woke me up this morning 
You look like you've been for breakfast at the heartbreak hotel
And sat in the back booth by the pamphlets and the literature on how to lose
Your waitress was miserable and so was your food
If you're gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes…
Being a little Beatles-esque in nature (and with a reference to Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel), this is my personal favorite from the Submarine soundtrack. The others of course are as equally awesome. Glass in the Park (“If the sun's in your eyes, I'll tighten your blindfold, baby; don't worry your foot won't get cut, strut carelessly.”) comes in close second.

02. Reckless Serenade- Arctic Monkeys

Reckless Serenade (Arctic Monkeys)
Topless models, doing semaphore
Wave their flags as she walks by and get ignored.
Illuminations, on a rainy day
When she walks her footsteps sing a reckless serenade 
I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is I need
Call up to listen to the voice of reason
And got the answering machine
The type of kisses where teeth collide
When she laughs, the Heavens hum a stun-gun lullaby
This song. *tries to not cry from its awesomeness* I just want to bask in its poetic beauty, really. I want Alex’s brains!

03. My Mistakes Were Made for You- The Last Shadow Puppets

My Mistakes Were Made for You (Age of Understatement)

About as subtle as an earthquake, I know
My mistakes were made for you
And in the back room of a bad dream, she came
And whisked me away, enthused
And it's solid as a rock rolling down a hill
The fact is that it probably will hit something
On the hazardous terrain 
And were just following the flock, round
And the inbetween, before we smash to smithereens
Like they were, and we scrambled from the grain
And its the fame that put words in her mouth
She couldnt help, but spit em out
Innocence and arrogance intwined in the filthiest of minds
I’m not the only who says this could be an opening credits song to a James Bond movie. Haha! Anyway, this is the first song I heard from The Age of Understatement. Pretty powerful lyrics, right? :P

So there you have it! One of my personal idols in music, Alex Turner. Try listening to all of his (and AM’s and TLSP’s) songs. You won’t regret it. :)

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