A tantalising insight into the mind of Alex Turner arrived on social media today. The Last Shadow Puppets Twitter account shared a Spotify playlist of music that he is “listening to currently”. No news on what fellow band mate Miles Kane is listening to though. He’s probably watching a Carry On film.
Why is this playlist so tantalising, though? I’ll tell you for why: because Alex Turner that there is a mysterious fellow. A mysterious, complex fellow who shrouds his countless levels of complexity in lime green suits and increasingly depraved hairstyles. He’s tricky to pin down – is he taking the piss when he talks with that American accent? Or is the Sheffield native actually into this whole lather jack-wearing rock star schtick? Tough one, and he’s a slippery interviewee.
So we delve into his record collection to gather an idea of what maketh the man. What kind of music do you listen to when you’re arguably the most talented and most successful musician of your generation? And what does it tell us about him? Alex Turner, this is your life. Probably. This is probably your life.
We open with ‘Is This What You Wanted’ by Leonard Cohen, a gospel-tinged ballad that features the heart-rending line, “Is this what you wanted / To live in a house that’s haunted / By the ghost of you and me?” Is this directed at the same woman who teamed Alex’s “pale blue Lacoste” with kneesocks in the song ‘Knee Sock’, which is probably – probably – about Alexa Chung? Either way, it seems young Turner is feeling pretty piney right now.
Well, we knew that anyway, having listened to the Last Shadow Puppets record. Plus there must be a lot of friction in that velour. Ah, but here is with ‘I Want You’ by Marvin Gaye, a song whose meaning is anything but oblique, while he also throws in ‘L’hotel particulier’ by everyone’s favourite pervy French crooner, Serge Gainsbourg. The latter song is quite literally taken from an album – Histoire de Melody Nelson – about a middle-aged man seducing a teenage girl. Get your rocks off, Alex.
Well, being an international famous rock star will do that for you, eh? Alex Turner is currently listening to the ‘Main Theme’ from John Carpenter’s tense thriller Assault on Precinct 13, an austere synth track that throbs and pulsates and stalks the soul like loneliness itself. Who would sit and listen to this music? An internationally famous rock star who hasn’t heard the word “no” in at least 10 years, yes, that’s right.
He’s still got it
And “it” is an ear to the ground, as he’s listening to ‘New England Crows’, a new track from Hamilton Leithhauser and Paul Maroon, aka members The Walkmen, those New York city indie heroes, and lesser-known first-wave Bristol punk band Glaxo Babies. “It” may also be an erection.
He’s got time on his hands
Alex Turner need not punch the clock like you and I. This is a well-considered, carefully made banger of a playlist, at once varied – taking in hip-hop via Wu Tang Clan’s smooth, socially conscious ‘I Can’t Go To Sleep’ and folk-pop in the form of Cat Steven’s cracked, aching ballad ‘The Hurt’ – and cohesive, possibly the aural equivalent of a mood board for the new Arctic Monkeys or Last Shadow Puppets record. Or, yeah, maybe he’s lonely and horny.