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Music

Hear Alex Turner's isolated vocals on Arctic Monkeys song '505'

It’s fair to say the Sheffield-born rock band Arctic Monkeys have climbed the ladder to join some of the greats in British music history, but how good were they in the early days?

Their first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, is the fastest-selling debut album in Britsh music history, with rock classics like ‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ rocketing them to stardom. So much, in fact, they performed it at the 2012 London Olympics, alongside other icons like Paul Mccartney, Queen and One Direction, securing them in the hall of fame.

Their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, is arguably just as iconic, featuring Fluorescent Adolescent and D is for Danger. While these are incredible, no song shows off Turner’s voice more like ‘505’, possibly the most unique piece featured on their album. The isolated vocals not only demonstrate Turner’s incredible range at such a young age. But also the pure artistry the frontman clearly has.

The song, written alongside Miles Kane, is the “first proper love song written by the Arctic Monkeys”, according to Turner himself, who wrote it for his girlfriend, Alexa Chung. The acapella version allows the listener to hear the rollercoaster of vocals Turner uses throughout, something that isn’t possible in the whole, somewhat unedited final cut. Another thing these isolated vocals allow us to do is to hear the stark difference in Alex Turner’s voice from 2007 to now.

These changes to a lower, almost American voice came in a complete identity change when AM, their fifth studio album, was released, where 50s America was an inspiration. Fans often describe the considerable difference from “British chav to American rockstar”, a change many older supporters disapproved of. Songs such as ‘Do I Wanna Know’ from the 2013 album displayed the now deep-voiced, smart-looking Turner, a change that’s vastly considered the biggest in British rock history.

This wasn’t the only change; however, when their sixth and latest studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, was released in 2018, Alex revealed yet another identity change to the band; a now bald Alex Turner produced a more psychedelic album, a controversial album for the fans who got on board after the vastly popular AM, the album that went platinum in six countries.

Despite the unpopularity among those fans used to a more conventional Arctic Monkeys, one thing the album does allow the audience to hear is yet another example of Alex’s vocal development throughout the years, and live performances suggest years of smoking have taken its toll on the iconic frontman. Despite this, however, it hasn’t stopped the album from reaching gold in the UK.