"505", the closing track on the album "Favourite Worst Nightmare," has remained a favorite among Arctic Monkeys' fans over the years and is often cited as one of the band's signature songs.
It even had a resurgence of popularity thanks to Tiktok's platform in late 2022, but what is the song about?
The lyrics of "505" definitely speak of the complexities of relationships and distance, but let's take a step further to see what Alex Turner was tapping into with his songwriting process.
Frontman and songwriter Alex Turner is known for his distinctive writing style, lyrical prowess, and talent with multiple instruments.
The main instrument in the track is a haunting organ sample taken from Ennio Morricone's work in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" which Alex replayed himself.
505 is likely referring to a specific hotel or vacation rental number that he shared with the complicated lover that the lyrics talk about.
In an interview with NME, Alex revealed that the song is about an ex-girlfriend of his, but doesn't specify who.
Many fans assume that the ex in question is songwriter Johanna Bennett, who cowrote for a separate song in that album.
When describing their songwriting process for the track "Fluorescent Adolescent", she said the following in an interview with The Observer:
"We were in a really quiet hotel and didn’t watch TV or listen to that much music. It’s great to think that it came from something we did for fun on holiday. It’ll always be a good memory for Alex and I. He doesn’t usually write lyrics with other people, though I think he enjoyed it."
They were likely in room 505, where Alex yearned to go back to at times, although the relationship seemed to be rocky, according to the lyrics.
As a traveling musician, you can easily see how the story of visiting a distant lover in moments that don't last long enough would be relevant for Turner.
I'm going back to 505If it's a seven hour flight or a forty-five minute driveIn my imagination, you're waitin' lyin' on your sideWith your hands between your thighs
While some people may think that the mention of thighs is sexual, it is likely just a way to describe how he envisions his lover waiting for him as he looks back on the fond memories they spent together.
I'd probably still adore you with your hands around my neckOr I did last time I checked
While the band has admitted it is their first proper love song release, that doesn't mean that it's all flowers and roses in this love story.
Again, this is probably not a sexual line here, but just expressing how he still loves her in spite of their heated arguments.
Not shy of a sparkThe knife twists at the thought that I should fall short of the mark
They have a lively relationship, although it seems like it's not enough and Turner's anxiety about his offerings in the relationship are oozing through the lyrical delivery.
But I crumble completely when you cryIt seems like once again you've had to greet me with goodbyeI'm always just about to go and spoil the surpriseTake my hands off of your eyes too soon
The vocal delivery for these lines gets memorably intense, showing how emotionally invested Turner is in his lover's happiness, but it seems like goodbyes happen way too soon in this relationship.
It's likely the distance and the musicians' lifestyle that is keeping them apart with all the shows, interviews, and other events he (and she) likely have.
Many people confuse the number 505 for being an area code or a cool way to signal for an SOS, but that part of the lyrics is likely a room number.
But whether or not the number is a room, an area code, or a secret combination that only the people in the lyrics would know, the song's meaning is still pretty clear.
It's all about reminiscing on a distant love that you yearn for, with all the ups, downs, and emotional extremes that are very present in the musical delivery here between the instrumentation, singing, and the lyrics.
The emotional impact of a song like "505" by Arctic Monkeys can vary from person to person, but it will likely put them in a place of nostalgia for a person, or maybe even a time when this song was a staple for them back in 2007.
The song's lyrics, which touch on themes of distance, separation, and desire, can lead listeners to reflect on their own experiences with love and relationships.
Plus, the gradual increase in dynamics over the song's length intensifies the experience even more. Once Turner sings, "But I crumble completely when you cry," at the climax, you'll likely feel yourself wanting to cry out, too.
Even if someone hasn't personally experienced this type of romantic situation, the emotive build and delivery here will definitely elicit some deep feelings, which is why this song is timeless!
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