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Music

The album that soundtracked the youth of Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner

@josephtaysom

Although The Strokes changed Alex Turner’s life, hip-hop was his first love, and he later called one album from British rap royalty the “soundtrack” to his youth.

Before the garage rock revival of the early 2000s, guitar music was in the gutter. If you were a young kid like Turner, listening to the influx of exciting homegrown rappers was much more of an exhilarating proposition than hearing the plethora of soft rock filling the airwaves in the wake of Coldplay’s success.

Turner has credited his upbringing while listening to hip-hop as a crucial part of his songwriting development. The musician later admitted it wasn’t until 2013’s AM that he felt more comfortable expressing it more explicitly. Speaking to BBC’s Newsnight, he said: “Hip-hop has always been an influence, but I think we’ve worn that influence more on our sleeve a bit more with this record (AM).”

Turner was too young to have lived through the Britpop craze, and by the time he became obsessed with music, the genre had become a washed-up caricature of what it once was with the Arctic Monkeys singer instead choosing to get his kick from rappers than indie bands.

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Brighton rapper Roots Manuva spoke to Turner in a way growing up, which was incomparable to any band. Although they lived in different ends of the country, he wrote about life in an accessible way and shared an outlook that the teenager found relatable.

“Me and [drummer] Matt [Helders] sort of grew up together, and there’s this one record called Run Come Save Me by Roots Manuva that’s a kinda soundtrack to those years,” he told GQ in 2011. “I still think he’s great; I love his way of talking about the mundane and the everyday, but always with a weird angle.”

Turner namedropped the record again during a conversation about the most important records in his life with Pitchfork. The frontman said: “I think the reason why I connected with Roots Manuva’s Run Come Save Me was probably because he was talking about quite mundane things with a bit of a stoned slant. Also, at that age, I wanted to have my own thing that other people might not have heard about.”

In 2008, Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders had the honour bestowed upon him to remix his childhood hero’s track, ‘Again & Again’, and he also included ‘Dreamy Days’ from Run Come Save Me on his Late Night Tales compilation tape.

Manuva has previous when it comes to working with indie acts, having collaborated with The Maccabees on ‘Empty Vessels’ back in 2010. In truth, Arctic Monkeys could do worse than recruiting him for an experimental B-side, even if the primary motive is to selfishly impress their teenage selves.