How R U Mine? changed everything for Arctic Monkeys...

27 February 2024, 14:11

Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner with a still from their R U Mine? video inset
Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner with a still from their R U Mine? video inset. Picture: 1.John Shearer/WireImag/Getty 2. YouTube/Arctic Monkeys

By Jenny Mensah

As the Sheffield band's 2012 single turns 12 this week, we look back at the anthem and examine how it became the "springboard" for Arctic Monkeys changing up their sound.

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By Jenny Mensah

This week marks 12 years since Arctic Monkeys' banger R U Mine? was first unleashed.

Originally released in 2012 as a standalone track for Record Store Day, the track came to feature on the band's seminal AM album the following year and has featured prominently on their setlist ever since.

Standing out from anything the Sheffield rockers had released at the time, R U Mine? packed quite the punch and saw the band play around with different influences.

As revealed by the band themselves, it went on to be the "springboard" for their 2013 AM album and the became benchmark for every other song on the record.

Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine? (Official Video)

Speaking about the impact the track had on the entire album, Alex Turner told Radio X: "There was something about that that just seemed like the best thing we'd done for ages.

"So this album was all about trying to make 12 tunes like that, really. You start to break that down and look at what it is actually that's appealing about that R U Mine? tune."

READ MORE: Where was 505 in the Arctic Monkeys song?

Most notably, the band managed to fuse the ostensibly rock track and its killer main riff - which was written by bassist Nick O'Malley - with elements of R&B, giving the song an infectious melodic feel, with drummer Matt Helders providing his best falsetto on the backing vocals.

Talking about the influence of R&B on the record at the time, the frontman said: "I think one of the most interesting things about [R U Mine?] is in inverted commas 'vocal production' and what's going on in the backing vocals. 

"That is something I suppose that we borrowed from that contemporary R&B world in terms of the scales the melodies follow and even how they are affected and how many of them there are. It's something that you hear a lot in Aaliyah's records or something."

He added: "In a way there is something in my mind that the sound of that universe doesn't seem so far away, or seems to sit perfectly, on top of early 70s rock and roll or heavy metal in the beginning. It seems like there is some kind of connection there."

Despite the different influences present in the track, Alex Turner's lyricism is still at its absolute best, with the frontman inserting a Thunderbirds reference within the song's first two lines, before conveying imagery of a distant star-crossed lover riding through the cosmos.

She's a silver linin', lone ranger ridin' through an open space

- Arctic Monkeys' - R U Mine? (2012)

There's absolutely no doubt that Arctic Monkeys' AM album represented a sea change for the band, witnessing their move away from young indie rockers into a more polished Trans-Atlantic outfit.

And if AM was the album that changed everything for Arctic Monkeys, then R U Mine? was certainly the song which kicked it all off.

Since their fifth LP, the band have never looked back, continuing to experiment with more and more different sounds.

Their sixth album, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino saw Turner ditch guitars in favour of the piano for the writing process and 2022's The Car provided some funk-laden grooves as well as sweepingly string-filled romantic epics.

The Arctics might be a far cry from R U Mine? these days, but the track is clearly still clearly beloved by the band and fans alike, making its way onto the end of pretty much every live setlist ever since it was released.

Watch the band perform the single at Reading Festival 2022:

Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine? (Reading Festival 2022)

Luckily, R U Mine? still sounds absolutely epic live and still fits with their more recent discography, usually providing the climax to their setlist over a decade later.

Though some Monkeys fans might give anything for another AM-style album, it's not likely that the rockers have any plans to look back.

Fans might be unsure about what direction Arctic Monkeys are headed in next, but one thing's for certain, you probably won't expect it.

Arctic Monkeys - The Car: Track By Track

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