The Ultracheese Chord- Guitar
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TheUltracheese-chord

By Arctic Monkeys

Key: Bm

A  A7                       D
    Still got pictures of friends on the wall
                        A
Suppose we aren't really friends anymore
              Bm                                          A
Maybe I shouldn't ever have called that thing friendly at all
                      D
Get freaked out from a knock at the door
                   A
When I haven't been expecting one
                       Bm                           A           A7
Didn't that used to be part of the fun, once upon a time?

                      Gm
We'll be there at the back of the bar
                    D
In a booth like we usually were
                     E         E7                A     
Every time there was a rocket launch or some big event

                D
What a death I died writing that song
                            A
From start to finish, with you looking on
                         Bm
It stays between us, Steinway and his sons
                       A     A7
Because it's the ultracheese
                          D
Perhaps it's time that you went for a walk
                     A
Dressed like a fictional character
                          Bm                   A       A7
From a place they called America in the golden age

                    Gm
Trust the politics to come along
                             D
When you were just trying to orbit the sun
                               E                           E7        A
When you were just about to be kind to someone because you had the chance

  A7                        D                    D/C
I've still got pictures of friends on the wall
                   G                      G#º
I might look as if I'm deep in thought
                     F#m              Bm                E   (Gm  A)
But the truth is I'm probably not            if I ever was

[Solo] D  A  Bm  A

A7                    D                 Dm
Oh the dawn won't stop weighing a tonne
                      A           (A G# G)     F#
I've done some things that I shouldn't have done
      B7
But I haven't stopped loving you once    ohhhhh

 [Verse 1]

Still got pictures of friends on the wall

I suppose we aren’t really friends anymore

  • Alex talks about his past, specifically about his old friends who he has lost touch with. Because he says he “still” has pictures of friends on the wall suggests he is thinking about removing them, so it is possible he doesn’t identify with this past life anymore.

Maybe I shouldn’t ever have called that thing friendly at all

  • There’s a possibility that the fact they aren’t “friendly at all” could be as a result of a relationship coming out of the friendship. Or, of course, the friendship was never a true friendship, and looking back he shouldn’t have called whoever he’s referring to his friends.

Get freaked out from a knock at the door

When I haven’t been expecting one

  • Based on the next line, it’s just a fact of modern life that people don’t knock without calling or texting, and as such it’s normal to feel weird when someone knocks unannounced.

And didn’t that used to be part of the fun, once upon a time?

  • This may be a commentary on today’s constant virtual communication: it’s rare to turn up at someone’s house without letting them know (via phone) first, and Alex suggests this was part of the fun of hanging out before. Another possibility is that in the context of the album (a post-apocalyptic Exodus to the Moon), people are not as used to receive guests face-to-face in their houses.

We’ll be there at the back of the bar

In a booth like we usually were

Every time there was a rocket launch or some big event

  • Alex reminds himself how they used to be before, when their fame was new and fun, watching “rocket [or perhaps album/EP] launches” with excitement. The people “at the back of the bar” could be the band members reminiscing about their career, or referring to how a part of them is still very much those same skinny teenagers in the 2000’s hanging out in bars in Sheffield – a part of himself that Alex has become increasingly more aware of since moving to LA and achieving stardom. The last time Turner wrote a lyric alluding to being in a back booth was in Piledriver Waltz.

[Verse 2]

What a death I died writing that song

Start to finish, with you looking on

  • Continuing the theme of detachment, Alex notes how his life now is far removed from what it used to be. It could be said that, as result of writing songs and playing music, his younger self has “died.” The impact of fame is further highlighted by the line “with you looking on. “referring to fans observing this change as they buy and listen to his music. Furthermore, Alex has recently admitted that he feels embarrassed about some of the work he did when he was younger — he told BBC in May 2018:

It stays between us, Steinway, and his sons

  • (Steinway & Sons is a German piano company. This album is lead vocalist Alex Turner’s first experience playing keyboards and co-producing an Arctic Monkeys album, and he refers to when he was first given a piano (which was a Steinway).
  • Turner explained the experience with Billboard: The piano was an unexpected gift for his 30th birthday from a friend: ‘It was quite a rush, really,’ Turner recalls of its unveiling. ‘Prior to that point I didn’t really have many ideas, and in my memory, that was the point at which they started to come. I really do think sitting at the piano tricked me into writing a lot of this stuff.’ He had gotten to a point with the guitar where he knew where everything was going to fall. ‘Sitting at the piano took me immediately to a different place,’ he says. ‘There are chords that came out, my fingers were falling different places, and the sounds were giving me ideas. That I was the guy sitting at the piano also gave me ideas.

‘Cause it’s the ultracheese

  • The ultracheese may mean that the song that was too cheesy for everyone except him, his love and his piano. The word “ultracheese” might also refer to the moon and the fanciful belief that it is made of cheese. The moon is the location of the fictional Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino in the album. Being a large celestial body, were it actually made of cheese it could quite appropriately be nicknamed “The Ultracheese.”

Perhaps it’s time that you went for a walk

Dressed like a fictional character

From a place they called America in the golden age

  • Since the Narrator and their interlocutor are on the moon, taking a walk would require the person to be dressed in a space-suit, making them look like a fictional character as seen in American fiction movies nowadays – the Golden Age of Earth. This line may also allude to Turner’s own greaser style he donned upon leaving his home in Sheffield for Los Angeles.

Trust the politics to come along

  • This refers to the age of outrage we currently live in. Where everyone has a rather drastic political position on the inanest subjects. This line is meant to be more of a “this too shall pass” in terms of the politics.

When you were just tryna orbit the sun

  • This ties in to the extended space travel analogy throughout the song/album, and it is also a reference to just trying to live your life. “Another successful trip around the sun” is something people say about getting another year older. As such, this line is implying that just keeping on living isn’t as easy as we all make it out to be, and the politics only make this more difficult.

When you were just about to be kind to someone

Because you had the chance

  • From a place of social isolation, interaction with other people may become a rare event, even more rare are the times you realize you can go a step further and do something for the other before the opportunity passes. Another interpretation comes from the fact that isolation stems lack of kindness and empathy, he isn’t going about being kind to people, he’s just kind when the opportunity presents itself.

[Verse 3]

I’ve still got pictures of friends on the wall

  • This line was written in a way to convey the idea of literal pictures on his wall, as well as Facebook friends, who often send friend requests regardless of whether they are in touch with that person anymore.

I might look as if I’m deep in thought

But the truth is I’m probably not

If I ever was

  • Something he may also be referring to—as he does a few times on the album (most clearly on “Science Fiction”)—is how his lyrics are possibly a bit too high concept. Any meanings are lost in flowery language and metaphors and end up not really making the point that he wanted them to.

[Outro]

Oh, the dawn won’t stop weighing a tonne

I’ve done some things that I shouldn’t have done

But I haven’t stopped loving you once

  • With his fame and music, he has become somewhat detached and isolated, reminiscing over pictures of friends he no longer knows, he wishing to back at the bar with his mates. The “dawn” of stardom has weighed a heavy price and he’s done some things that he regrets along the way, but with the final line on the song (and the album) Alex sings that it’s all been worth it. “But I haven’t stopped loving you once.” He loves the music more, and though it meant losing touch with that skinny 18-year-old from High Green, Sheffield, he wouldn’t change a thing.

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