Sunday, January 11, 2009

Album Review, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

"How did Scottish people ever have sex before the existence of Franz Ferdinand? " That's how Spin magazine opens its review of Franz's third album. Well, I'm not Scottish but right now it's hard to imagine how I was able to enjoy music before these guys... It's not necessary to talk here about how good their first two albums are and how anticipated 'Tonight' was, specially after all the buzz over their live concerts in the last year, where a lot of new songs were exaustively tested. I'll just say that my expectations were pretty high because Franz Ferdinand has been one of my favourite bands in the last months and I actually went to one of their concerts and saw how good the new stuff is live. Because of that, I was a little worried, worried to be disapointed, worried that they could have fucked up some of the songs that I already loved, etc... For that, my first sentiment over the new album was relief. This pretty much lives to all my expectations and may be even better than I was expecting, may be even their best album! 

'Tonight: Franz Ferdinand' is a fast album, an album to hear before going out, like Alex Kapranos described it months ago. But I'd say more than that. It's the kind of record that you can put in a danceclub without remixes and that's pretty fucking awesome! There are a lot of synthetizers and the eletronic feeling is much stronger now. Anyone with legs will dance hearing this record. It's not a lot different than their previous records, but there are new directions, like Lucid Dreams, now with almost 8 minutes! In some points, they seem inspired by acts like Justice and this may not please everyone, but for me it is more than enough. If there is anything to be criticized, it is that it feels too short. But so, are the best things in life... Below, I give a track by track review. 

Ulysses: The record opens with Ulysses, the lead single. The synths are strong here, a good indication of what awaits you. They also have a chorus with the already classic 'la la la' and I simply love it! Grade: 9.5

Turn It On: There were huge expectations about this one, labeled by many the new 'Take me out'. If that will be case, I don't know, but right now I can hardly think of a better way to spend 2:21 minutes... Grade: 10 

No, You Girls Never Know: This was previously called 'Katherine kiss me' and this was the first new song that I heard months ago. The studio version has more synths and it really feels better than the live version. Grade: 8.5 

Send Him Away: One of the best surprises, I didn't know this one. The pace slows down a little bit here, but just enough to get your breath back and the chorus is very nice. Grade: 8

Twilight Omens: This reminds me of The Beatles but without losing the Franz's appeal. It's one of my favourites. Grade: 9

Bite Hard: It starts slowly and suddenly gets really fast, more or less like 'Jacqueline'. Again, the synths and the dance feel are very strong. Grade: 9 

What She Came For: This was one of my favourite songs even before hearing the studio version. Now I can safely say that the album version rocks. For the first three minutes or so, we see Franz at their best: electric pace, killer chorus... In the end, a surprisingly good sequence, with heavier guitars. Fantastic!! Grade: 10

Live Alone: Another pretty good song. It will not be a single, just because this album is so damn good, but it will get a lot of airplay.. from me, at least. Grade: 8

Can't Stop Feeling: The beginning is a little bit weird and at first I thought the synths were too strong. Now I love them. It's better than the demo version. Grade: 8.5

Lucid Dreams: Probably the most controversial song of the album. Not only it lasts almost 8 minutes (!) but it is also very different than the demo version that everybody knows. A lot of fans seem to be pissed of by this, but I'm loving it. Specially the last three minutes, where it feels like Justice in their best moments. Amazing! Grade: 9.5

Dream Again: Ok, no record is perfect. This feels out of place. Too slow for me... Grade: 5

Katherine Kiss Me: This has the same lyrics as 'No, you girls never know', but with a slow pace. Nobody can say that they were not ambitious... Grade: 7

Most of the time it's hard to review an album track by track because rarely you find a record where more than, say, 3 or 4 songs are really good and this has 10 great songs (!). What a killer way to start 2009. 'Tonight' is Franz Ferdinand's statement that they are the best indie band of the planet. Very well done, guys! 

Grade: 9.5