On May 11, the Arctic Monkeys released Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, their first new album in five years. The British rock group, led by frontman Alex Turner, did little to market the new album and did not promote any singles or music videos prior to its release. Instead, the band released the first music video for the album’s standout “Four Out of Five” two days later, on May 13.
The music video is a surrealist maze filmed within Castle Howard, an estate in Yorkshire, the band’s home county. In what quickly becomes a muddled reality, the video simultaneously features both a bearded Turner directing film scenes around the castle and a clean-shaven Turner performing the song for a music video with the rest of the Arctic Monkeys.
As Turner-as-director points to a screen while editing his film, TV monitors behind him show him performing the action. Themes of surveillance, perception and lack of privacy emerge as the band is monitored by the bearded Turner, who’s being monitored in turn by the audience. Confused yet? Between the doppelgängers and pulsing red shadows, the music video aims to quickly disorient.
Long shots of decadent but empty hallways and vintage hotel keys provide nods to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Later, both versions of Turner examine miniature models of the worlds the other is residing in in a shot lifted directly from the film.
The music video is resistant to fitting into any particular time period given the baroque setting within the castle and the ‘80s-era TVs that litter the shots. However, Turner’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics about taquerias and gentrification serve as reminders that issues of surveillance are all-too-modern concerns as well.
Take a closer look at Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino here, check out a live performance of “Four Out of Five” here and watch the music video for yourself below.