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  • Matt Codd

BODY PAINT: A Soaring Encapsulation of Arctic Monkeys' New Era

Zachary Michael 2022

Arctic Monkeys have dropped the second single from upcoming album The Car and it proves that this new era for the band, might actually be their best yet. The single's release comes as tickets for the band's biggest ever UK and Irish tour go on sale, with Arctic Monkeys playing stadiums up and down the country on a mammoth 15 dates.

There is a sense of trepidation among some Arctic Monkeys fans surrounding the direction that the band is heading in. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino was a deviation from the band's signature sound. Their live shows have become slower and more methodical and lead single 'There'd Better Be A Mirrorball' was straight up ballad, unlike anything we've had from Monkeys before.

'Body Paint' is a meandering, swaggering song with all the charm and charisma that the Monkeys have built over nearly 20 years, encapsulated in musical form. It's sure to put any of those fears to rest, for good.

The song opens with a deceptively sweet piano line, appropriately followed by the first line of the song "For a master of deception and subterfuge / You’ve made yourself quite the bed, to lie in". This track really takes deception to heart. The opening two and a half minutes are the most brilliant ballad, akin to 'There'd Better Be A Mirrorball' or 'The Ultracheese.' It pulls you into this 70s soundscape that the band have effortlessly made their own.

Around the halfway mark, the band provide a little teaser to where this song is going. Guitars crash onto the chorus and the strings that once echoed Turner's words are now ominously at the forefront. For about 20 seconds 'Body Paint' is a stadium rock song, with distorted guitars and ethereal strings. Then, the innocent jingly piano returns to calm the mood.

Turner begins to croon the chorus; "There's still a trace of body paint, on your legs and on your arms, and on your face" the music becomes more urgent, Turner's delivery becomes more insistent. The exceptionally grounded lyricism and day-to-day topic of the song is made gargantuan by Turner's delivery, complete with falsetto vocals and the highest notes I've heard from him.

The repetition of these words ends, and Turner breaks off with a brilliantly sexy guitar solo. This final minute or so is not the same song as it was to begin with. The broody atmosphere that builds through the track comes to a head for one hell of a closer. There is only one band that I could think that this song evokes the spirit of: The Beatles. I don't think I need to say much else.

'Body Paint' allows the band to shine, it sets out their stall for this era in a magnificent way. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, drummer Matt Helders said, "it encompasses everything that's going on on the record in one song". The Car won't just be a continuation of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, but a progression on those themes, ideas and sounds. It's still other worldly, but in a down to earth way.

Body Parts is available to stream everywhere now. The Car, the 7th Album from Arctic Monkeys is out October 21st.


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