Arctic Monkeys: 10 Hidden Song Meanings

Who was Brian, anyway?

Arctic monkeys
Domino Records

Arctic Monkeys' music has now spanned over fifteen years, and what makes their journey so interesting is that every song provides a backdrop to their lives.

Each album has a personal touch, produced by different labels and mirroring the changes in the band's life, alongside primarily lyricist Alex Turner's life. And considering how young they were when they rose to fame, we've seen their music and Turner's lyrical content grow and mature over the years.

Their most recent album "Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino" was their most unique and experimental yet, and put alongside their debut, someone unfamiliar might assume they were from separate bands. But one thing that has remained constant throughout their discography is Turner's cryptic lyricism - a sense of poetry which in some places, means we can't even feign understanding on what he's singing about.

But when a little mysticism cracks and we get an insight into Turner's inspiration, it's a glimpse of quite the ordinary life. Tales of parties, unusual characters, love, heartbreak and plenty of euphemisms.

10. Fake Tales Of Sheffield's Music Scene

In 2004, Arctic Monkey's first record was released. Not with a label, but an unofficial collection of demos recorded at home and given away for free. This was dubbed Beneath the Boardwalk, named after the Sheffield venue that Alex Turner used to work and the band performed at. The CD is an assortment of youthful stories of night life in Sheffield - many experienced in the Boardwalk itself.

"Fake Tales of San Francisco" was one of the most popular on the demo, and was re-recorded for Whatever People Say I Am. No other song on the album epitomises their time in the Boardwalk quite like "Fake Tales" - a riff on the Sheffield music scene, and how all the bands attempted to sound like each other - Arctic Monkeys included. The matrimony between the indie-punk power chords and the lyrics paint a vivid picture of their youth.

Alex Turner has always had a very observant mind in writing music, starting when he was a bar-tender as the Boardwalk, and in "Fake Tales" he allows himself to be critical of his own band and their place in Sheffield. I'm sure he never anticipated his band would end up being a cut above the rest.


A music grad & screenwriting masters student hoping to put his strong grasp of the online thesaurus to good use. Will write about anything you can find on a screen or a compact disc. Except the Bee Gees. He doesn't know much about them.