The Sheffield band, Arctic Monkeys, released this non-album single on February 27, 2012. Former Sex Pistol and current DJ Steve Jones premiered the song on his KROQ show.
The song's first two lines are probably the first couplet ever to reference both a Eurovision Song Contest winning tune ("Puppet on a String
") and a fictitious Pacific Ocean island, which is the setting for a children's TV series: Tracy Island - the base of The Thunderbirds
' International Rescue organization.
That's drummer Matt Helders who you can hear chorusing Alex Turner's words back in a unfeasibly high falsetto.
The sunglasses-at-night black and white video starts with Steve Jones in a KROQ studio, then follows the band as they travel to perform the song on a stage. It won Best Video at the 2013 NME Awards.
The clip was filmed by Aaron Brown and Ben Chappell of Focus Creeps who also did the visuals for "Suck It And See
" and "Black Treacle
." Helders told NME
about the clip: "We did it unplanned when Jamie (Cook, guitar) wasn't even there! It wasn't that planned at all. We were just out in LA, just before The Black Keys' support tour. There might have been a bit of trickery involved but it had to be very well rehearsed, put it that way! We practised for it all week, me and Alex, just without playing the end bit. We did all the cat bits, just sitting in the car all week doing hand gestures over and over and generally being quite weird."
Turner tried to incorporate into this song some of the lyrical techniques used by the rappers Lil Wayne and Drake. He told NME: "We've been listening to a lot of their stuff recently. I like that thing they do where they talk about something backwards, so they talk about it but then say what it actually is on the next line. It's hard to explain but I guess it's a little nod to that idea. So I say, 'I'm a puppet on a string', just before mentioning Tracy Island. That's what it's about – uncertainty."
The song was released physically for the Record Store Day on April 21, 2012 on a limited edition double A-side purple 7" vinyl. The B-side was the Arctic's gnarled ode to night-time sex "Electricity."
Despite originally being released as a standalone single, the song featured 18 months later on the band's AM album. Speaking with Zane Lowe on his BBC Radio 1 show, Turner said that the LP's direction came from this track. "The record sort of started with 'R U Mine?' really," he said. "[We] discovered something through the recording of that tune that we thought was worth exploring."
Alex Turner told Mojo magazine how the song came about: "We'd been on the road longer than usual," he recalled, "and the opportunity came up to do the Black Keys tour (spring 2012). We'd exhausted Suck It And See, so we thought we should do a new tune. That tour made us raise the bar as a live act: you're playing as everyone's walking in and buying their hotdogs, you've got to bring it a little more."
"'R U Mine?' was a ray of light moment," continued Turner. "What I was most excited about is the vocal production, it was something we hadn't explored to that extent before. I wanted to do these meandering melodies that don't repeat, like contemporary R&B."