RANKED: Alex Turner

Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Alex David Turner has been at the forefront of the most interesting and most successful British band of the last ten years. Not content with one era defining band, he is due to release his second album with The Last Shadow Puppets on 1st April as well.

Ranking the Arctics albums has always proven a difficult task amongst fans, throw in the LSP stuff and Turner’s wonderful soundtrack to Submarine and the final ranking probably changes from fan to fan, maybe even from day to day. Having said that my opinion on Alex Turner’s work has remained largely unchanged over the years. So here it is, all of Alex Turner’s albums and EP’s ranked.

8. Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? (2006)

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Key Track: Despair in the Departure Lounge

Along with the excellent single ‘Leave Before the Lights Come On’, Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys was supposed to bridge the gap between the first and second Arctics album. A mixture of new and old material with Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not album opener ‘The View From The Afternoon’ rubbing shoulders with new songs such as ‘No Buses.’

Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys finds a band still finding their feet and the title track shows the same kind of brattish immaturity featured on ‘Perhaps Vampires is a Bit Strong But…’

‘Despair in the Departure Lounge’ serves as precursor to the lovelorn ballads ‘505’ and ‘Cornerstone’ but apart from that moment of genius Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys is Alex Turners most forgettable release.

7. The Age of the Understatement (2008)

Artist: The Last Shadow Puppets

Key Track: My Mistakes Were Made For You

As is tradition in the UK, certain members of the general public couldn’t wait for an Alex Turner misstep after his meteoric rise to fame. When it transpired that Alex Turner and Miles Kane (formerly of The Rascals) were making a Scott Walker inspired 60s album, knives were being sharpened across the music press.

How bitterly disappointed they must have been when The Last Shadow Puppets album turned out to be a massive success. The title track and the single ‘Standing Next To Me’ took all the plaudits but it is ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’ that is the albums centrepiece and finest moment.

6. Suck It And See (2011)

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Key Track: She’s Thunderstorms

Probably the only Alex Turner release that I didn’t love straight away. Suck It And See feels more like a stepping stone between Humbug and AM than an album in it’s own right. The great thing about all 5 Arctics albums is that they sound totally different to each other and each is sure of its own identity. Suck It And See seems less sure of itself than the rest of the Arctics back catalogue however.

‘She’s Thunderstorms’ is one hell of an album opener though, it is just a shame that the album dips a little in the latter half with forgettable, Arctics by numbers tracks such as ‘Library Pictures’ and ‘All My Own Stunts’.

5. Submarine (2011)

Artist: Alex Turner

Key Track:  Stuck on the Puzzle

Submarine is an example of how good cinema can be when everything comes together. Film buff and first time director Richard Ayoade does a great job with the excellent source material, the young cast is perfect and Alex Turner’s original score and soundtrack is the delicious cherry on top.

At only six tracks, the Submarine soundtrack is a tantalizing glimpse into what an Alex Turner solo album might sound like. There is nothing approaching a bad song and you could lose most of Suck It And See and replace it with these songs and you would have a better album. ‘Stuck on the Puzzle’ is the best of the lot, a simple love song from the best songwriter of his generation.

4. AM (2013)

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Key Track: R U Mine?

From here on out it becomes almost impossible to differentiate Alex Turner’s work such is its innate genius. AM was roundly considered one of the best albums of 2013 and it has certainly changed the musical landscape with many indie bands attempting to replicate the unique sound of AM.

‘R U Mine?’ was such an instant classic that the band immediately started closing their set with it. Quite simply one of the best and most exciting songs ever written.

3. Humbug (2009)

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Key Track: Cornerstone

I really struggled with putting Humbug in front of AM on a purely musical level but music means so much more than just the songs themselves. Humbug has become so synonymous with a specific time of my life that any of the songs from that album immediately takes me back to those halcyon days. You can’t capture a feeling but music is the art form that comes closest.

On a musical note Humbug was almost a concerted effort to shake all the mainstream success the Arctic Monkeys had found with their first two albums. Alex Turner also evolved lyrically on this album with songs like ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘Crying Lightning’. When an albums key influence is QOTSA, you know it is going to be good.

2. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

We all know the story behind what was at the time the fastest selling début album of all time. The important thing to consider is how the first Arctic Monkeys album has aged. For an album that was lyrically very of it’s time, it also still feels incredibly fresh and vibrant today.

The reality is that Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not is one of the most iconic and beloved albums in the history of British music. Not since Oasis had a band grabbed the British audience by the scruff of their neck and it will probably never happen again. A masterpiece.

1. Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Key Track: 505

Perhaps it was because it came out so quickly but the genius of Favourite Worst Nightmare took a couple of years to sink in for fans who were still not tired of the first album. Whilst it is nigh on impossible to compare the two albums, Favourite Worst Nightmare is the more consistent of the two. It lacks a show stopping single in the vein of ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ but tracks such as ‘505’ and ‘Do Me A Favour’ have seeped into the public conciousness and are now correctly heralded as some of the best songs Turner has ever written.

Favourite Worst Nightmare captures Turner in a transition between humble teenager and LA dwelling rock God and this juxtaposition makes for an unforgettable album. It was also released on my birthday. It’s like he knew…


Other notable recordings:

Live at the Apollo: Finds the band before they had reached their full potential as a live act but still well worth seeking out.

Five Minutes With The Arctic Monkeys – The first official Arctic Monkeys release only contains two songs (both of which feature on the first album) but its rarity makes it very desirable to collectors.

Late Night Tales: Matt Helders – Another one for Arctic Monkeys completists, Late Night Tales is the only place to find Alex Turners’ single venture into spoken word




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