Bradford never left Zayn Malik. He’s a changed man with a boozer in his backyard and more joints than the average skeleton, but he’s still a Bradford boy. Our Zayn.
Alex Turner, on the other hand, has experienced a transformation. It’s already well documented. Once a Sheffield lad with the city running through his veins, trips to the desert with Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme took their toll. He headlined Glastonbury 2013 with a slick new ‘do and an extra stride in his step. And every time he spoke, he sounded like Elvis. Not the real thing, The King of Rock and Roll reincarnated. No, this was different. This was a strange voice, a tinge of Sheffield still creeping through. “It’s not intentional,” he told NME at the time. Fair enough mate.
The situation progressed when Turner used his new-fangled alien voice on the biggest stage. Arctics picked up Best British Album for ‘AM’ at 2014’s BRIT Awards. Turner uttered the words “That rock ’n roll, eh?” in his deep, unnerving tones. He dropped the mic. The rest is history.
It was a shock, ok? It’s not every day The Pride of Sheffield decides he’s doing a residency in Las Vegas. A couple of years on, it’s time to be mature. Get used to it. Alex is different. He’s still the same cheeky scamp with a knack for songwriting.
A brief history of Alex Turner’s speaking voice (before it got really weird, actually)
Nothing is ever that simple. He still hasn’t been invoiced for the microphone, but things have taken another dramatic turn.
Alex is currently hanging out with incomprehensible BFF Miles Kane, promoting The Last Shadow Puppets’ latest album. Last night, they sat in with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe at Shangri La Studios, a suitably swanky set-up for their latest release.
The second Alex Turner opens his mouth, everything changes.
“Nas to see youuu, Zane, fankyu verrry much”
It’s like he’s practicing the world’s worst Bruce Forsyth impression. And it continues.
“Ack-tully, prior to goin up to musical heaven…”
“That was kinda wot sayyled the dayyyl, ack-tully, Shangray Laaa”
Fucking hell, what’s going on? It’s only further emphasised by Miles Kane’s Scouse accent - Scouse as can be, the purest form, straight outta Brookside - rabbling in between Alex’s utterances. Christ, why is it so deep? Is there a gobstopper in his mouth? Is he taking offence to Zane’s questioning? Is he going to throw up?
Occasionally he reverts back to normal form, and then out sneaks a word pronounced in a way nobody has ever heard before.
“Something in the sound of the voices together and the meladaaay”
Call a linguistics expert. It’s like he’s suppressing different voices. Far from a genius next level transatlantic combo, it’s everything and nothing at once. Keep talking, Alex. Let us understand you better.
Don't even get us started on the tracksuits, though.
Top photo: Sinead Grainger.
WE’VE GOT A FAVOUR TO ASK
We’re often asked about you, our readers. So we’d really appreciate it if you’d offer up a bit of information about you, and your music-loving habits by filling in our 2019 readers’ survey.
(Don’t worry, none of what we’re asking for is personally identifiable - and no questions are compulsory.)
More like this
Mega-rare Bowie, Kylie, Liam Gallagher and Arctic Monkeys white-label vinyl to be auctioned for National Album Day
Test pressings from some of music’s biggest names will go under the hammer early next month.
We won’t have “another five years” to wait for a new record, he reckons.
The Arctic Monkeys/Milburn side-project are touring the UK this April.
The self-titled record is out next month.