Arctic Monkeys: The Car album artwork has a "surveillance" vibe to it

22 October 2022, 12:56 | Updated: 28 December 2022, 13:11

Arctic Monkeys on the artwork and title of The Car

Alex Turner and Matt Helders have been telling Radio X how a simple photograph gave their new album its cryptic title.

When Arctic Monkeys first published the artwork for their new album The Car back in August of this year, fans started searching for clues as to what it all meant.

It was quickly established that the cover photo was taken in Los Angeles, and that the lonely looking vehicle of the title was situated in a car park at West 7th St & S Broadway, CA 90014, USA.

Listen back to Arctic Monkeys' Track By Track of The Car with John Kennedy on Global Player

Drummer Matt Helders revealed that he'd taken the photo himself back in 2019 on a vintage Leica M6 camera using Kodak Portra 400 35mm film.

He told Radio X's John Kennedy during a brand new Track By Track interview for The Car: "I took it a few years ago. I was living in an apartment in downtown LA for a bit and that was taken out of my bedroom window. I'd just got a lens for this camera and it was a different perspective to what I usually used.

"I took a lot of pictures of that car park, but that was just one that stood out particularly. There was something about that car and where it was... and we kept coming back to it."

Read more: Where was Arctic Monkeys' The Car album cover photo taken?

Arctic Monkeys sat down with John Kennedy for a full Track by Track interview - you can listen now!
Arctic Monkeys sat down with John Kennedy for a full Track by Track interview - you can listen now! Picture: Stefano Broli

Helders explained that the mysterious car in the photo soon created a mystique all of its own. "I sent it to Al with no intention of it being involved with the album - I was just like, Look at this cool photo!

"I remember when I got the scan of the negatives back," he explained, "putting them in a folder and calling it '1. Car', and afterwards I changed it to 'The Car'. 1.Car!"

"Working title!" added his bandmate Alex Turner. "We started calling that picture 'The Car' before we started calling the record 'The Car'."

Arctic Monkeys - The Car album artwork
Arctic Monkeys - The Car album artwork. Picture: Radio X

Turner explained that the atmosphere of the photo soon began to influence the feel of the new songs. "I think it's been there all the way through the [recording]..." he said. "It might be responsible for some of the lyrical ideas in there.

"There's something vaguely surveillance about it and that idea shows up a few times in the lyrics. I feel as if in the back of our minds we expected that we would wrap the record up in that picture. We finally held the record the other day for the first time.. and we were really happy with it."

Listen back to Arctic Monkeys' Track By Track of The Car with John Kennedy on Global Player

Arctic Monkeys performing at Cala Mijas Fest in September 2022
Arctic Monkeys performing at Cala Mijas Fest in September 2022. Picture: Pablo Gallardo/Redferns/Getty

For Matt Helders, the release of the album gave the project a final closing of the circle.

Matt explained: "I've got it on my wall. And then, in LA on the end of my road, I saw the billboard of it, that was a nice thing to see. I took a photo of it, just for the family."

Alex, of course, has the last word on the album artwork: "And on the back of the record, the track listing looks like a goblet. That's how much time we had. We got a goblet."

See Arctic Monkeys The Car tracklisting:

  1. There’d Better Be A Mirrorball
  2. I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am
  3. Sculptures Of Anything Goes
  4. Jet Skis On The Moat
  5. Body Paint
  6. The Car
  7. Big Ideas
  8. Hello You
  9. Mr Schwartz
  10. Perfect Sense

The Car by Arctic Monkeys is out now

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