I should take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I was friends with during the springtime of 2004. I was, in fact, just a little bit insufferable about this record. I know. I know.
What is it?
Franz Ferdinand is a 2004 eponymous debut record.
How does it sound?
It’s always better on sampler mix:
Why this pick?
Earlier this year I tried to make a point about later albums showing the strength and value of an ongoing artistic endeavor, and so on, and so forth. Thing is, though, I’ve never been able to connect with the later FF records like I did with this first one. Go figure!
Which songs are the highlights?
That first hit song, “Take Me Out,” still works for me. I still bop my head and tap my foot every time it comes up in rotation, and I still love the tempo change after the intro, and I just adore the whole damned thing. Can’t help it, won’t quit it.
Right afterward on the album is “The Dark of the Matinée,” which is almost as good. Not quite, but almost.
“This Fire” is a great barn-burner, if that’s not too close to a pun for your tastes. Likewise “Darts of Pleasure.”
My favorite song comes at the end, though: I love “40′” to pieces. The sound, the vibe, the styling, all the pieces come together here.
Which songs don’t work so well?
“Tell Her Tonight” leans a bit too far into the pseudo-1960’s styling and falls flat for me entirely.
“Cheating On You” is two and a half minutes of noise. It’s the one true dud on the record. Maybe it’s just too “punk” for me, or something. The lyrical subject matter is more off-putting than I can ignore, too.
(As an aside: Decades of Pet Shop Boys fandom left me inured to the “dude singing about how hot some other dude is” aspect of the song, “Michael.” I just shrug my shoulders and move on.)
Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?
This is another case where if I’d not picked Franz Ferdinand I wouldn’t have picked Franz Ferdinand, as it were.
Any final thoughts?
I still like the feel and the vibe and the sound of this record even as I recognize that it was a thing very much of its time. The band built a lot of their reputation on the style of the thing, at least as much as on the substance. Hey, it worked for Duran Duran so I’m not going to knock it.
With that said, sometimes the stylistic experimentation doesn’t land cleanly. The first track, “Jacqueline,” meanders through several styles and motifs in less than four minutes, and if they’d stuck with just a couple of them I’d like the song a lot more. The parts that don’t work, though, drag the whole song down a bit.