Join us as we enjoy and dissect the emotional sprint that is Arctic Monkeys' "505" in 2024

By: T-Rod

I don’t think there’s that many songs that have seen a resurgence in social media like Arctic Monkeys’ “505.” Coming from a pretty big Monkeys fan, this was always a go-to for a top 10 song, but it wasn’t exactly a mainstream one. Imagine my surprise when in 2024 it rose from the dead, reviving as a sleeper hit 17 years after it initially came out.

So of course the usual cycle of this blog set in; I obsessed over “505”. Why does it resonate with so many, why do the organs in the introduction and the manic percussion of the outro make me feel such a profound sense of longing? It’s a genius song, but why is it designed to batter most music fans’ souls?

Let’s begin with a lesson on why many Arctic Monkeys songs work: the vibes are immaculate. “505” is one of the best songs you can play come nighttime. From the mellow organ to the slow build of percussion and noir guitars, the body of the song captures a feeling of longing that gets stronger, hungrier. The seamless transition from quiet vocals and keys to wailing cries and banging drums makes the track stand out that much more against the band’s otherwise standard song structuring. This pacing enhances the spirit of the track, a pain that slowly gets worse.

Music works best when it provides catharsis. Some music works in the gym, some in the library, and some on a lonely night when you’re reminiscing on what could have been. The very atmosphere in “505” feels like a slow walk to an all out sprint, leaving you breathless and sprawled on the pavement as you wonder if you should push send on that text message.

The adrenaline that leads you into that exhausting sprint is Alex Turner’s songwriting. I think that his vocabulary, his storytelling, and his perfectly-synced delivery make most of his songs a fascinating musical painting. Whether it’s abstract or hyper detailed, the feeling he puts on the musical canvas is always clear. “505” is one of Turner’s most nuanced works, a real-time emotional breakdown over an expired relationship. What makes this a special breakdown, however, is Turner’s use of structure. 

Just as the song’s instrumental builds from dreamy trance to a frantic sprint, Turner’s lyrics go from calm to pained. The chorus leads in, Turner sleepily declaring his return to “505”, a place where the memory of his relationship lies. The use of sensual imagery only enhances the persistent feeling of want this song oozes in its chords. As the verse kicks in, more hints of the crumbled relationship are thrown on top of the building percussion: “Not shy of a spark/The knife twists at the thought that I should fall short of the mark” is one of Turner’s best lyrical couplets, perfectly capturing the excitement and fear love can bring…but the emphasis on pain really shows that this whole song is just a fantasy.

The final verse completely explodes with the reality that is Turner’s fears come true. That relationship’s been over for a while. The pain in the last verse is genuinely one of the best musical moments in indie/alternative from the 2000s, a clash of emotions that can be felt by listening to the backing instrumentation by itself, reading the lyrics by themselves, or hearing Turner’s acapella performance by itself; when combined it’s a Louisville Slugger to the ribs. Again, the song is a slow, agonizing realization of sadness that eventually leads to catharsis. This is a track that, no matter what genres you frequent, you can relate to. That feeling of sweet turning sour is a common trope in music, but I’d say it’s perfected here. “505” absolutely deserves to be on your nighttime playlist, just brace yourself for the feels.