Today marks two years since Arctic Monkeys divided their fanbase with the release of the piano-led album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Two years on, the album has aged superbly, improving with each passing listen and, over that period, offer a fascinating insight into an interesting stage in the band’s dynamic career.
The album, which arrived as the Sheffield band’s first concept album, depicted a luxury hotel at Tranquility Base—the location of the 1969 Moon landing and was loaded with Alex Turner’s sharp witty lyrics despite the faraway setting for the record.
We are celebrating the record’s birthday by spinning this special version of lead single ‘Four Out Of Five’ in 8D audio. The transformed recording, which makes you hear the song as you’ve never heard it before, gives the material an added layer of intimacy that makes it feel like Alex Turner is singing directly towards you. Shifting the sound from left to right and back again, 8D music allows the listening to submerge themselves deeper into the sound of the material.
While the craze began with a universally shared WhatsApp message, which came with an accompanying house music track, has now transcended into a wide-ranging online movement with numerous iconic songs from the past being brought forward into the present. “Listen to this song with headphones (put on the 2 headphones). It is the new music of the Pentatonix, composed of 8D technology. Listen to it only with headphones,” the original message advised.
Turner revealed to Pitchfork in 2018 about the sci-fi loaded lyrics in the track and how he drew influence from further afield after suffering from a period of writer’s block and growing tired of writing love songs. The songwriter let slip about the phrase ‘Information Action Radio’ that he mentions in the song, saying: “I lifted it from this book called Amusing Ourselves to Death.”
Adding: “I was attracted to the idea as soon as I heard that phrase; even though it was in this book from  it still seemed relevant—more relevant than it probably was when the guy made it up. I sang it into the tape recorder when I was making stuff up one day, and it ended up falling in a place where the implication was it was the name of this taco shop on the roof of this hotel complex.”
The majority of the songs featured on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino were written in 2016 by Alex Turner on the piano at his home in Los Angeles where, while working solo, he recorded his vocals on a Tascam 388 8-track recording machine. Turner then went and played his bandmates the demos in February 2017, before they would lay down the tracks in London as well as at Hollywood’s Vox Studios and France’s picturesque La Frette, a studio built within a 19th-century mansion.
Despite the record splitting opinion with fans, it was still a rousing success that landed them their sixth-consecutive UK number one which makes them the only band to manage this remarkable fete whilst being on an independent label and firmly stands the test of time.
Close your eyes, put on some headphones and listen to ‘Four Out Of Five’ being given the immersive 8D treatment below.