“Body Paint” by Arctic Monkeys

The prevailing theory seems to be that Arctic Monkeys’ “Body Paint” is romantic in nature, i.e. the vocalist likely addressing his significant other. From the onset, despite the lyrical complexity of this piece, it becomes pretty obvious that he has a less-than-favorable view of this person.

That said, the lyrics of this piece are so metaphorical (presumably), that it is genuinely a challenge trying to make sense of all that’s going down. So it is sometimes with Arctic Monkeys’ tracks. 

In cases like these, sentiment has to be relied on more than verifiable references. And to reiterate, the sentiment is such that it gives the impression that the vocalist and addressee have some type of beef, or in the very least the former has serious issues with the latter.

It has been suggested for instance that when Alex gets to observing the ‘traces of body paint’ on the addressee’s ‘legs… arm and… face”, that’s actually an allusion to him having some type of evidence that she has and is cheating. 

And all lyrics considered, it does appear, on top of a less-than-flattering portrayal of her, that this relationship has had an adverse effect on the vocalist also, to the point where he seems unsympathetic to the addressee’s observable misery. 

Indeed, the singer comes off as if he has her, as ‘deceptive’ as she may be, figured out. Or put differently he doesn’t trust her and therefore is not moved when she gets to crying or what have you.

Conclusion

So the easiest way to make sense out of all of this is to probably presume that it is a case of Alex dealing with an unfaithful lover. It isn’t necessarily that all of the lyrics strongly support such a conclusion, but being cheated can be a very hard pill to digest. 

So it may be that the reason the narrative has come out overly poetic is because the emotions behind the lyrics may be difficult or embarrassing to relay to begin with.

Lyrics to Arctic Monkeys' "Body Paint"

When did Arctic Monkeys release “Body Paint”?

Domino Records put this track out on 29 September 2022 as the second single from “The Car”. “The Car” is Arctic Monkeys’ seventh studio album. The album’s first single (“There’d Better Be a Mirrorball“) came out a month earlier.

The band premiered this song about a week before its release, at a venue in Brooklyn known as Kings Theatre. And on 30 September, “Body Paint” received its television debut via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Credits

The song was written by Alex Turner, the band’s frontman. James Ford, who worked with the group on a number of previous projects, produced “Body Paint”.

The music video to this track, as helmed by director Brooke Linder, was filmed in both the UK (London) and US (Missouri). 

To note, the Arctic Monkeys themselves hail from a part of the United Kingdom known as Sheffield.

Body Paint

5 Responses

  1. Carlos says:

    Well, I must disagree 🙂 Alex is critical about the other person, but also about himself: “My teeth are beating and my knees are weak”. The other person, who’s a master of deception and subterfuge, at least made herself “quite the bed to lie in”.

    It’s not about cheating or betrayal, but about **two miserable people who love but don’t open up completely to each other!**

    “You’ve made yourself quite the bed to lie in” it’s like at least you could make something out of hiding yourself!

    “So predictable, I know what you’re thinking”: I see you behind that character.

    “Straight from the cover shoot, still a trace of body paint
    On your legs and on your arms and on your face
    And I’m keeping on my costume, I’m calling it a writing tool”:

    There’s still a trace from the cover you were using, you still didn’t open up completely, either did I!

    “And if you’re thinking of me, I’m probably thinking of you”: We love each other anyway.

  2. Mariano says:

    What is he saying at the end of the song right before it fades out?

  3. Presh says:

    Oh my goodness, Alex is the cheater. He chated on Taylor with Louise. Geez…

  4. Laura says:

    I think he’s talking about himself. The part of him that is not a rock star and writes lyrics or vice versa.

  5. D Seaman says:

    Body paint is obviously jizz. Alex is then breaking the fourth wall to say, “so predictable, what you’re thinking” to the listener, re: the listener thinking that he’s talking about jizzing on a girl (her arms, her legs, and her face)

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