Arctic Monkeys reflect on lasting impact of ‘A Certain Romance’

"Pushing the music that far out from what we’d done before initially felt contentious, to say the least"

Arctic Monkeys have reflected on the lasting impact of ‘A Certain Romance’, describing it as the song that showed the band they had ambitions “beyond what we once thought we were capable of”.

Speaking to NME in their recent Big Read cover interview, frontman Alex Turner likened the emotional depth across ‘The Car’ to the two-minute guitar breakdown that wraps up ‘A Certain Romance’, the final track on the band’s 2006 debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’.

“I remember when we were recording ‘A Certain Romance’ and having a conversation with the producer about the final guitar solo,” he said.

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“There’s something that happens at the end of that track where we break some rules in a single moment. We focused on the [emotional] effect of the instrumentals over the words – and I feel like we’ve been trying to do that again and again since then.”

Arctic Monkeys on the cover of NME
Arctic Monkeys on the cover of NME

Asked if he was still proud of the song, Turner replied “Yeah”, adding: “If anything, for the fact that [‘A Certain Romance’] showed that we did actually have these ambitions beyond what we once thought we were capable of. Back then, we would struggle with the idea of adding anything more to the songs; but here, there’s some guitar that goes high, and then comes back in.”

“When we recorded [‘A Certain Romance’] we were all like, ‘Woah, woah, woah…'” he added. “‘What have we done here?’ Pushing the music that far out from what we’d done before initially felt contentious, to say the least.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Turner spoke about track ‘505’ going viral on TikTok, describing it as “genuinely moving”.

“Without having ‘505’ at the end of our shows for a few years around 2008, I’m not sure if it would have found the new life it has now,” he told NME.

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“I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m taking credit [for the revival] – even if it wasn’t totally unexpected, the attention around [‘505’] is really quite special.”

Turner addressed the fact that his band are playing a full stadium tour across the UK for the first time ever next summer, describing new album ‘The Car’ as ripe to “hang out in a stadium”.

In a five-star review, NME praised ‘The Car’ as a “swashbuckling, strings-fuelled epic”.

Meanwhile, Arctic Monkeys will perform during a special Later…With Jools Holland episode that’s dedicated entirely to them.

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