First things first. Franz Ferdinand aren’t one of those bands who are going to change their sound. Nor should they. This is a band that knows what they do and they do it damn well. So throw away any preconceptions you might have about “third album growth” or maturity. Let’s just say that if you like the first two albums, you won’t be disappointed with this one. Even better, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is the perfect palate cleanser to Merriwether Post Pavillion. I’ll probably get my blogger license revoked for making that statement, but it’s true.
Full album rundown and mp3 after the jump.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Download Guides is a simple, quick system to evaluate albums on a song-by-song basis and thus help you in the ongoing mission to fill your iTunes with all killer and little-to-no filler. We’d recommend you don’t think of this as a review but a way to help you navigate your way through the a la carte world of MP3s. Songs are evaluated on a grade school, plus/minus system: A, B, C etc.
- Ulysses – The current single is probably more straight-up rock than most of their other material. Also, it’s always admirable when a band comes out of the gate swinging and places their single right at the top of an album. They get kudos for the strong start.
Final grade: B
- Turn It On – Alex Kapranos leads a call-and-respond chorus that sounds, well, pretty much like every other Franz Ferdinand song. But I’ll be damned if they don’t pull it off yet again, you’re foot will be tapping to an otherwise average song.
Final grade: C+
- No You Girls – One thing you can’t accuse the band of is taking any breaks during this album. It’s been a complete party so far and this song about a grown man’s broken heart manages to build to a nice place after starting unremarkably.
Final grade: B-
- Send Him Away – Finally, the tempo of the album slows down just a little bit. A funky, almost island-sounding midtempo rocker gives way to a flurry of keyboards and drums.
Final grade: C
- Twilight Omens – The standout song in an album of sound alikes. Opening with a distorted keyboard riff, Kapranos recalls the story of a girl who leaves him smitten after meeting at a bar. Something any young man can relate to. “Then I hear your name / Hear the radio sing your name / Should I Give You A Call?/ What Can I say? / Maybe I still feel the same” he sings. With the chorus kicking in, the song builds to a triumphant level that doesn’t get matched anywhere else on this album and turns into one of Franz Ferdinand’s best songs.
Final grade: A+
Franz Ferdinand – Twilight Omens
- Bite Hard – An acoustic intro, reminiscent of Little Joy, gives way to — what else — a dance floor ready rocker. Small personal complaint: These songs are all great, but in the context of the album they start to blend together. Honestly, I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between this song and four of the five others on this album if it weren’t for that acoustic intro. This final grade here is more a punishment for Franz not mixing it up, because the song on it’s own is very strong.
Final grade: C
- What She Came For – “Where do you see yourself in five minutes?” Kapranos asks as he tries to pick up a girl (I assume). I know where I’ll be in five minutes if this song doesn’t wrap up soon…
Final grade: C-
- Live Alone – If there’s one thing Franz Ferdinand do exceedingly well on this album it’s that they don’t waste any time getting to the chorus. Seriously, it’s like thirty seconds max before the hook hits on each of these songs. I applaud their brevity. Why not do in thirty seconds what Merriwether Post Pavillion does once in a geologic age? A disco-y bassline and bouncy keyboard also make this track stand above the rest.
Final grade: B+
- Can’t Stop Feeling – “Fun’s not fun anymore / I can’t stop feeling / No I can’t stop feeling.” Does Alex Kapranos have a set of lyrics he just checks off of a list? Maybe it’s just madlibs and he fills in the interchangeable blanks with girls and dancefloors. Just a thought.
Final grade: B-
- Lucid Dreams – Does anyone else remember when this song came out in, like, August and it was only three minutes long? You didn’t like it that much then either? Apparently the band wasn’t happy with it the first time so they thought it was appropriate to take it back into the lab and… well now it’s eight-minutes long.
Final grade: D-
- Dream Again – See below.
- Katherine Kiss Me – I decided to combine my reviews of those last two songs because if Franz Ferdinand is going to mail them in, I might as well do the same. These two acoustic songs aren’t bad necessarily, but they feel tacked on. I mean, literally each of the ten songs before these two were vintage Franz Ferdinand. What purpose do these last two songs serve? Do they exist just to show that you don’t only do dance songs? Caaaammmmaaaaannnnn guys. Why not just stick with your guns at this point and prove to the public that no one can crank out a 10 song dance album better than you. This would have been the early pick for party album of 2009 were it not for those last two tracks weighing it down at the end. Disappointing to say the least.
Final grade: D
Thanks for reading the download guide and be sure to pick up the album legally if you like it or see Franz Ferdinand on tour.