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Meaning Behind “505” Song By Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys have released several hit tracks over the years including the ever-popular song 505 from their 2007 album Favourite Worst Nightmare. If you’ve heard this track, then you might be wondering what it’s all about. We’re going to tell you the meaning behind the 505 song by Arctic Monkeys below, so keep reading to find out! 

Origins

The track 505 is the last song on the standard version of the second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare by the Arctic Monkeys, which was released in 2007. The track was written by lead vocalist Alex Turner with Mike Crossey and James Ford being the producers involved in the hit song. Miles Kane from The Rascals, who is a friend of Turner, is also on this track playing guitar. 

Inspiration 

A lot of people have questioned the inspiration of the song, but Turner revealed that “505” refers to the hotel room number where his girlfriend had been staying at the time. This was one of the first in-depth emotional tracks that the Arctic Monkey had released, with it being the first real love song for the band.

Bill Ebbesen, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In terms of style, 505 was inspired by the soundtrack of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly by Ennio Morricone. You can hear that inspiration at the beginning of the song when the organ plays, and loving some of the iconic older films have been a huge influence on their style. It was the band using these inspirations that helped propel 505 up the charts and become one of the standout tracks from the album. 

Music Video

The Arctic Monkeys did not release a video for 505, but in December 2014, the band made an audio YouTube video for the song. It has since had more than 340 million views on the Arctic Monkeys’ official YouTube channel, and it’s only continuing to grow as more people hear this love track. The song was never released as a single for the album, which is likely why we’ve never seen a music video for the track. 

Success Of “505”

The song 505 has been a huge success since it was released, becoming not only a viral sensation on TikTok, but it’s also one of the top three most popular tracks on Spotify along with Do I Wanna Know and I Wanna Be Yours.

Turner has said in interviews that he attributes some of the success of 505 as coming from the fact the band started to close their live shows around 2008 with this song and did so for a few years. Having it as the closing track could have helped it reach new heights and gain additional attention that may not have existed otherwise, especially from the younger fans attending their shows. 

This hit the UK Singles chart and peaked at number 73 with it, remaining on the chart for 10 weeks. Not only that, but it has charted in one way or another in several countries including the UK, US, Malaysia, Israel, Argentina, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, Indonesia Greece, Chile, Italy, Finland, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore. 

The album itself, Favourite Worst Nightmare, saw a lot of success, in part thanks to 505 and the other more emotional tracks that were found on this album. The songwriting that put 505 on the map helped this album achieve acclaim, and it was ranked by Uncut and NME as number two on their best albums of 2007 lists.

Songs such as 505 also helped this album stand apart from the debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, and this is when the band started having a new sound and style. OOR labeled this album as the best album of 2007. 

When Favourite Worst Nightmare was released, it sold more than 227,000 copies and 44,000 of those were in the US. The album made it to seven on the Billboard 200 chart when it debuted, and in the UK, it has now hit 4x platinum. At the BRIT Awards in 2008, this album won the British Best Album award. The ambitious songwriting and sounds found in songs such as 505 were behind the huge success that it received all over the world. 

So What Do The Lyrics Mean?

When you look at the verses found in 505, you can quickly assume that the relationship being talked about is not a good relationship, and was nothing short of tumultuous and toxic. You get the feeling that the singer is looking at himself as a victim in the relationship instead of taking responsibility on his own part for the toxicity that occurred. 

A lot of the blame is put on the female in 505 with lyrics referring to her having her hands around his neck. While we don’t know if there was true physical violence in the relationship, it could be used as a metaphor meaning that he felt she was strangling him or smothering him in some way. There are indications that some type of violence or assault happened within the relationship, and that the woman had been the aggressor. 

Further into the song, the lyrics mention how the singer crumbles when he starts crying, which goes into the fact he is still emotionally involved with the woman and still loves her even if he had been a domestic violence victim or just a victim of the toxicity of the relationship as a whole. He crumbles when the woman becomes emotional, and he is there quickly to forgive her, which is often how toxic relationships go. 

When he says “I’m going back to 505,” he seems to be yearning for that earlier point in the relationship where it was romantic, they were in love, and everything was wonderful between the couple. It’s a desire to go back in time and get back to that love that he knows was present, even if it’s not there anymore. The part where he says “If it’s a seven-hour flight” also tells us that he’s willing to do whatever it takes no matter how long it takes to get back to those days and that time in the relationship. 

Symbolism Of “505”

The main symbolism of 505 is that it’s a hotel room number, which would symbolize love and romance, but there could be more here than meets the eye. This specific number also could be taken a little differently. Instead of just looking at “505” as the hotel number, you can look at it as a symbol of a relationship that is toxic and has both love and hate involved. 

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, then you know how sometimes there could be both good and bad to that relationship, but remember the times when the relationship was mostly good. When you have more bad than good it becomes toxic, but you keep going back for more, which is what 505 symbolizes because you remember the love that existed in the beginning. 

Is “505” A Fan Favorite?

The song 505 appears to be a favorite with fans, with them all singing along to the track whenever it’s played at a concert. The younger people in the crowd, as noted by Turner, have a particularly emotional connection and response to this song when they begin playing it. 

The band released Live At The Royal Albert Hall in 2020, which was a recording of a live concert in London that occurred in 2018. You can find 505 on this live album, which does imply that the track has become a classic and fan favorite that is only gaining traction the more it’s played.

Whether “505” is a room number or just the love-hate toxic relationship that existed, we know that it’s a song that implies a yearning for when things were right and good, and we can all relate to that.

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