Before becoming an especially painful rock star cliché, Alex Turner churned out a wealth of songs that were completely beyond his years. His greatest achievement may be his work on the Submarine soundtrack, the directorial debut of his friend Richard Ayoade. The fact that he does not have Oscar firmly in hand for his work is a total travesty. In fact, completely unbelievably, none of the five songs he wrote for the film were even longlisted for the award. He wrote the soundtrack at a time when he was particularly enamored by songwriters. He was coming off the Scott Walker-aping release of The Last Shadow Puppets debut with Miles Kane, and can clearly be seen to channel Dion and David Bowie on track Stuck on the Puzzle. It’s Hard To Get Around The Wind is the track that stays with you though. Almost unbelievably delicate, the track is nothing more than Turner on acoustic guitar (probably the best he’s ever played here) and a hushed vocal, so quiet you have to lean in, almost like he’s telling you a secret. He draws comparison to such monumental artists as Nick Drake, Donovan and Cat Stevens easily, but he has a spin all his own. There’s a clever whimsy and a youthful mischief to the track, but also a tinge of sadness. His lyrics here are unimpeachably good:
Stretching out the neck on your evening/Trying to even out some deficit/But it’s sabre-toothed, multi-ball confusion
And you can shriek until you’re hollow/Or whisper it the other way/Trying to save the youth without putting your
The project ended up being a perfect fit for Turner: a place where he could indulge his obsessions with the slightly outdated trappings of youth (carnivals, retro candies and all-out puppy love are frequent features of his writing), as well as find his voice as a solo songwriter. His work would end up rather overshadowing the film in the end, not because it wasn’t perfect for it (it was), but because the movie couldn’t quite measure up to what he’d done.