Photo by Abbey Steinman
But I crumble completely when you cry…
“505,” the last track of Arctic Monkeys 2007 album, Favorite Worst Nightmare, is the song I wish I could listen to for the first time again. It’s captivating, heart-wrenching, and ear-pleasing. The song is known as the band’s first proper love song, and I can see why: it’s mature.
Once the song reaches its cue, it opens with the organ from the movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The atmosphere is set to be filled with melancholy with a hope of redemption. It’s here the audience can see frontman Alex Turner being openly vulnerable about his lover’s quarrel.
Before picking the song apart, it’s crucial to explain what “505” is. Some fans believe “505” is a hotel room number where Turner’s “going back” to see his lover in question. He’s highly eager regardless if it’s a “seven-hour flight or a forty-five minute-drive” because he knows wherever this hotel room resides, it‘s his last chance to recover what’s left of the relationship.
However, from a personal perspective, “505” isn’t where Turner can physically be at. Instead, “505” is the designated spot in his figment of imagination because it’s all he has left to reminisce about something that’s officially over.
It’s the last place to dwell about what their love felt like, but it’s also a reminder of what hurt him severely. Also, not to mention he constantly repeats, “in my imagination.” Turner puts this scenario in his head that his lover will be waiting like a damsel in distress, and he’ll be some sort of hero. Hence, the way Turner describes her ‘lying on your [her] side” and “hands between your [her] thighs” illustrates her cuddling lonesomely because she feels incomplete without him.
Despite their relationship falling to its end, Turner still finds something intriguing about this girl. He doesn’t care if the relationship can’t be as it once was. If anything, Turner sees “the middle of adventure/ [is] such a perfect place to start.” In this line, it’s clear to see “505” is practically an aching love song.
He’s in love, but he’s in pure misery.
Even within the first verse of the song, Turner openly admits how blindly in love he is. His past lover can torture him physically and verbally. It can be seen in lines like, “I’d probably still adore you with your hands around my neck/ Or I did last time I checked.” Another line that conveys this emotion is “Not shy of a spark/ Frightened by the bite/ Though it’s no harsher than the bark.” He manipulates himself by showcasing this unhealthy relationship as an ideal one. Even though these lyrics indicate how frustrated his lover is towards him, he’s immune to her chaotic outrage. It’s an unrequited love in other words.
But, what makes “505” highly captivating is how sincerely honest Turner is. It’s easy to indicate because of his fragile voice. Turner’s vocals are completely shattered as the song reaches its bridge; it’s the most anticipated part of the musical piece.
The famous lyrics “But I crumble completely when you cry,” is sung at high volumes. This means Turner can’t withstand the emotions raised within him any longer. He breaks.
Turner openly admits to being a fool for this bitter love, and that’s what makes this song mature. No one ever wants to admit how helpless they are all because of one person… but he does.
It fools the audience to believe the song itself sounds quite innocent as he’s yearning for his lover to come back. Yet, his actions backfire since he always seems to “spoil a surprise” and “fall short of the mark.” After all, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t always win her over.
So, with “505” being the closing track to Favourite Worst Nightmare, it closes the album with Turner yearning for redemption. The song captures the meaning of the album’s title entirely. “505” is the girl worth living for in Turner’s eyes even though she’s killing him slowly.
No matter how much he tries to run away from her for his sanity, he’ll continue to remain curious about what could’ve been. His old lover is his Favourite Worst Nightmare because she’s a recurring painful dream that doesn’t seem to have an end, but somehow Turner doesn’t want to wake up from it, or else he knows it will fully be over.