Cornerstone

Album: Humbug (2009)
Charted: 94

Songfacts®:

  • Alex Turner told Uncut Magazine that he wrote this breezy love song about meeting girls in pubs who remind him of the one he's trying to forget, "one morning, quite quickly." He added: "There's something to be said for writing in the morning. At other points in the day you're a bit more defensive. I saw it as a challenge to write something in a major key, but that wasn't cheesy."
  • This song was helmed by Favourite Worst Nightmare producer James Ford and penned by Turner after most of Humbug had already been recorded at the Mojave Desert town of Joshua Tree. He explained to Uncut Magazine: "We did a little Australian tour and stepped away from the album for a minute. It became apparent that I still needed to write a bit, so we booked another session with James. Although we still had Alain (Johannes, engineer) in the studio to keep it linear."
  • Wry Yorkshire folk-pop legend Jake Thackray was an inspiration on this song. Turner said: "The way he pronounced things was hilarious."
  • Coincidentally perhaps, Cornerstone is the name of a prominent counseling center in the Arctic Monkeys' home city of Sheffield.
  • This was released as the second single from Humbug with new songs "Catapult", "Sketchead", and "Fright Lined Dining Room" available across its release formats.
  • The song finds Turner searching four different pubs for his ex but in each one he only finds her doppelgangers. The first three verses end badly when he asks the lookalikes, "Can I call you her name?" Turner told Vulture the story behind the track:

    "I was listening to a lot of country music when I wrote it, and it had that formula where the verses always end the same way. That happens a lot in Patsy Cline tunes. I started with the line 'I smelt your scent on the seat belt.' In reality, I was sitting in the back of a taxi and I got this scent in my nostrils of whomever I was longing for. I may have also had the names of the pubs in mind."

    The ballad's last verse finds Turner meeting his ex's sister in the titular Cornerstone pub. "I'm not sure how I ended up with the girl's sister in the last verse," he admitted. "When I was in school, I think I probably fancied my girlfriend's sister or something."

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