Ranking the entire works of Alex Turner
Alex Turner has been a consistently intriguing face in the British indie scene for the past 15 years now, with his roles as vocalist and songwriter for Arctic Monkeys as well as co-lead role in the duo the Last Shadow Puppets with Miles Kane and his solo EP Submarine soundtracking the film of the same name from Richard Ayoade.
9) Submarine (2011)
This would certainly be a lot higher up on the list had it been longer, however at only 5 tracks it seems unfair to rank it properly alongside the rest of Turner’s work however due to how loved it is by fans it has to be included in some shape or form.
It is a really intriguing window into what a fully fledged Turner solo record might look like and is a bridge between his more melodic stripped back work with the Shadow Puppets and albums with the Arctic Monkeys.
8) Tranquillity Base Hotel + Casino (2018)
Probably the most contentious and debated album in Turner’s repertoire this album has been debated to high heaven and has its fans and detractors. Many fans of the group aghast at the change in direction they had taken following the mammoth success of AM. This album certainly is Monkey’s most stripped back by some margin with greater room for piano’s and fewer chances for Matt Helders and Jamie Cook to shine.
It is perhaps misunderstood and it will be interesting to see whether time treats it more favourably. Tracks like Star Treatment, Four Out of Five & One Point Perspective are great live. For me the album is a tad less cohesive than the group’s other work however I do enjoy the contrasts between TBHC and the rest of their work.
7) Everything you’ve come to expect (2016)
The 2nd Shadow Puppet’s album was a surprise to be sure but it does deliver on much of the promise of the group’s debut. Turner’s voice sounds fantastic throughout especially on Miracle Aligner.
As with TBHC it feels less cohesive than the group’s debut and the up & down nature in quality ultimately stops it featuring more prominently on the list. However Aviation & Bad Habits are both highlights and it does have its share of fans. Here’s hoping we see a 3rd Shadow Puppet’s record as has been teased by Miles and Alex.
6) Suck it and See (2011)
A highly underrated record in the Monkey’s cannon that is heavily overshadowed by the colossal success of AM. It’s a poppier sounding record than the previous Monkeys sound and has plenty of 60s-70s vibes throughout. She’s Thunderstorms is a great opener and the quality rarely lets up, gems like Don’t sit down cos I’ve moved your chair and Hellcat spangled Shalala are fan favourites.
Turner’s lyricism is particularly fun on this record with some humour to be found in the likes of Black Treacle. It offers a nice mix of the groups early sound while incorporating a sense of fun and a glimpse of the brilliance that would come next.
5) Humbug (2009)
Again a critically underrated record that marked a depature in sound from Favourite Worst nightmare and Whatever People say I am. It’s held up remarkably well over 10 years after its release and the contributions of QOTSA’s Josh Homme really stand out with a more polished production and more rock less indie sound.
My Propeller, Crying Lightening & Potion Approaching are classics, Cornerstone is one of the best loved tracks off the record and one of the most personal Turner has written. It is one of the most important album’s Turner has made in showcasing the variety of song-writing and musicianship within the Arctic Monkeys.
4) The Age of the Understatement (2008)
A real gem that showcases Alex Turner and Miles Kane at their absolute best containing some of the best material both have made. From the title track to the Time has come again, this is an absolute classic. The harmonies between Turner and Kane work incredibly well, particularly on Standing Next to Me and the Chamber.
My Mistakes were made for you has a bond theme sound to it and the Meeting Place is just jaw droppingly gorgeous. It’s a real throwback to the 60s in terms of production and sound and its choice of album cover.
3) Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)
This is where ranking Turner’s career becomes nigh on impossible as the quality is so high in places that ranking almost feels unfair. This record is a rollicking rock n roll blast opening with the searing Brianstorm and closing with fan favourite 505.
It’s more mature and adventurous than the group’s debut and clearly overcomes the 2nd album curse that so many bands succumb to. Fluroescent Adolescent still sounds great as do many of the tracks and Only Ones Who Know shows the beginnings of style’s Turner would embrace with Shadow Puppets and on AM and TBH&C to greater effect.
2) Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not (2006)
One of the standout British debut records of the past 2 decades and possibly of all time. This record is the fastest selling debut album by a band in the UK (no mean feat considering some of the competition), many of the tracks are still played weekly at Indie Disco’s across the UK, namely I bet you Look Good on the Dancefloor, Mardy Bum and When the Sun Goes Down.
It’s raw relentless punk energy and thunderous pace seems a far cry from where the group are now but it suited a group in their late teens talking about trivialities of nights out in Sheffield and pints & fights. It is deserving of its status among fans & critics alike.
1) AM – (2013)
Perhaps a controversial opinion in the top spot, but for me it had to be 2013’s AM. This album really got me in tune with the group’s music, they had flitted onto my radar but this album made me a true fan. Do I wanna Know whilst having been overplayed to death was a breath of fresh air when it came out, the same can be said of R u Mine and Arabella.
We are treated to bigger riffs and a smoother slicker sound and the marriage of the two works a treat. The more melodic stripped back moments marry these wonderfully with No 1 Party Anthem & Mad Sounds almost sounding like auditions for Tranqulity Base. Why’d you only Call me when you’re High exhibits more hip hop influences than previous work.
This album’s importance within the modern indie scene really can’t be overstated as it gave fans of other types of genres a rock band to take note of and won the Monkey’s a whole host of new fans. While it may not be as raw as the first 2 records it offers more musicality and variety and a group at the top of their game.
Words by Christopher Connor
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Music lover from Surrey with a particular soft spot for Indie/britpop and classic rock. Can be found in the nearest record shop expanding my collection.