Four Out of Five

Album: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (2018)
Charted: 18

Songfacts®:

  • The Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino album has a loose sci-fi theme running through it with the Arctic Monkeys being a lounge act in a luxury resort on the moon. This song finds Alex Turner singing about the album's titular fictional lunar hotel (with accompanying rooftop taqueria).
  • The name of the Taqueria is The Information Action Ratio, a phrase lifted from cultural critic Neil Postman's 1985 work Amusing Ourselves to Death. In short, the Information Action Ratio is a reference to the idea of how we have so much knowledge at our fingertips without quite knowing what action, we might reasonably be expected to take once we learn it. "I think one of the things I liked about that phrase is that you sort of know exactly what it is right away," Turner told NME.

    The information action ratio is the place to go
    Four stars out of five
    I put a taqueria on the moon
    It got rave reviews
    Four stars out of five


    Turner explained to Pitchfork:

    "I lifted it from this book called Amusing Ourselves to Death. I was attracted to the idea as soon as I heard that phrase; even though it was in this book from [1985] it still seemed relevant—more relevant than it probably was when the guy made it up.

    I sang it into the tape recorder when I was making stuff up one day, and it ended up falling in a place where the implication was it was the name of this taco shop on the roof of this hotel complex."
  • Most of the songs featured on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino were written in 2016 by Alex Turner on a piano at his Los Angeles Home, with his vocals recorded on a Tascam 388 8-track recording machine. Turner played his bandmates the demos in February 2017, before laying down the tracks at Hollywood's Vox Studios and France's La Frette, a studio built within a 19th century mansion. While at La Frette, the Arctic Monkeys tried to channel the approach that Phil Spector took on Dion's 1975 album Born to Be With You.

    "I think over time you just learn that [the magic is made] with a lot of people in the room all at once and everything spilling over all the microphones," Turner told Billboard. "We did a little bit of that on this album, but one day I'd like to go the whole way there."

    Turner pointed to the outro on "Four Out of Five" as an example of Born to Be With You's influence.
  • Former Klaxons band member James Righton put in a shift on the Wurlitzer electronic piano for this track. He also contributed keys for two other Tranquility songs, "Science Fiction" and "The Ultracheese."
  • This Bowie-esque glam song was one of four Tranquility tracks that the Monkeys debuted when they made their live return in San Diego on May 2, 2018.
  • The music video was directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown and filmed primarily at Castle Howard in the band's native county of Yorkshire. It also includes some footage shot on location at Munich Marienplatz station in Munich. Many of the scenes and shots were inspired by Stanley Kubrick movies.
  • Lunar surface on a Saturday day night
    Dressed up in silver and white with
    Colored old grey whistle test lights


    Speaking to Vulture about his writing process for Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Turner spoke of this song's "lunar surface" lyric, explaining that it was his friend's' nickname for a room in his house, where he did all his writing and recording. "A lot of the chords and music in these songs felt lounge-y in a way that just seemed, to me, to fit on the moon. So then I was in outer space, and I just kept going," the singer explained.

    "Four stars out of five is a bit of a pun, with the stars," Turner added. "I may have gotten a bit carried away there."

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