Arctic Monkeys song ‘R U Mine’ is the track that helped the group finally earn the plaudits that they deserved on the other side of the Atlantic. The group, with their American audience in mind, went 100mph full-throttle rock ‘n’ roll on this barnstorming anthem, one which sounds fierce as ever through Alex Turner’s piercing isolated vocals.
‘R U Mine’ was originally supposed to be a stand-alone Record Day special release, one which debuted at number twenty-three on the UK Singles Chart. The 2012 single was the band’s highest-charting track since the Humbug era of 2009. However, a track of the sheer excellence like ‘R U Mine’ was deemed too good to be left-off their next album AM and a re-worked version of the track would be the record’s lead single. It set the tone for that album and from the moment it was recorded, the band knew that this was the next sonic adventure they wanted to set their sights on.
It marked a poignant moment in their illustrious career, a time when the four members displayed a new level of musical maturity, their sound elevated into a new genre-melding chart-topper. The effort from the Sheffield band signals the moment that they shifted from boys to men and marked a major transition in their sound.
Growing up under the spotlight of the British media, Arctic Monkeys were no longer considered ‘the boys from next door’ by 2012 and their change in direction was a true reflection of their new desire. They were now bonafide rock gods with ‘R U Mine’ acting as a teaser for what fans had in-store 18 months later when AM would pick up exactly where the track leaves off.
Speaking with Zane Lowe on his BBC Radio 1 show, Alex Turner confessed that the direction for their fifth record did come from this track, a song which was initially supposed to be a stand-alone release for Record Store Day in 2012. “The record sort of started with ‘R U Mine?’ really,” he said. “[We] discovered something through the recording of that tune that we thought was worth exploring.”
The song took inspiration from contemporary R&B acts such as Lil Wayne and Drake rhythmically, one which saw Alex Turner adapt his style of songwriting. It’s something the frontman did with meticulous ease throughout his career and is a key factor as to why Arctic Monkeys have managed to stay fresh and relevant for over 15 years. “There’s a few references for people to pick up on in there,” Turner noted on his wordplay in the song. “‘Some Velvet Morning’, Tracy Island. That particular bit is like the thing Lil Wayne and Drake do. We’ve been listening to a lot of their stuff recently,” he added.
“I like that thing they do where they talk about something backwards, so they talk about it but then say what it actually is on the next line. It’s hard to explain but I guess it’s a little nod to that idea. So I say, ‘I’m a puppet on a string’, just before mentioning Tracy Island. That’s what it’s about—uncertainty,” Turner revealed.
The track started a whole new era for the band which saw them go from being the biggest contemporary band in Britain to a global juggernaut that rightly received acclaim around the world, cementing their status as one of the most important bands of the 21st century.
Listen to Alex Turner’s rip-roaring isolated vocals on Arctic Monkeys’ song ‘R U Mine?’, below.