2009: 15 of the Best. #5…

December 14, 2009

#5 – Arctic Monkeys – Cornerstone

From: Humbug
Released: August 19, 2009
Label: Domino/Warner Bros./EMI
Buy it: Here.

Alex Turner keeps his streak alive for this blog’s “15 of the Best” series — all four years I’ve done this series, he’s had a composition included, either as an Arctic Monkey or a Last Shadow Puppet. I freely admit that I was terribly wary of the hype surrounding him and the band in 2006, but I’ve been consistently proved wrong. If their albums aren’t as consistent as some of us may like, their prolificacy is to be commended, and the fact that they always have a surefire winner on each record (if not most singles’ B-sides) is also pretty remarkable. I think the consensus for most is that while Humbug is a bit uneven and maybe underwhelming, “Cornerstone” might be the band’s finest 3:18 yet. It’s the kind of song that once upon a time gave Morrissey’s solo career a bit of majesty (see: Vauxhall and I-era), but Turner doesn’t cloud his feelings with tough-to-pin references or flirtations with trying to be too clever — he just says at is. Who amongst us hasn’t pursued someone based simply on a more-than-passing resemblance to a crush or ex? So as the song’s narrator veers from bar to bar trying to find the ideal doppelganger if not the muse herself, it’s almost poetic justice (or a really great metaphoric middle finger) that he ends up with her sister. But every stop in between — including the elongated taxi ride home — just drips with the most regal heartache you’ve ever heard.

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