Posted by: ben | September 28, 2009

music monday: franz ferdinand’s ‘tonight’

The Franz Ferdinand Discussion

Ben: Tragedy! A few weeks ago my iPod finally died a death. The battery had been on its way out for a few months until it got to the stage it’s at now – half an hour or so of use followed by silence – unbearable silence. I’ve explored replacing the battery but sadly the model I’ve got was built to combat eager amateurs like myself opening it up (as a sweary hour and a fraught fiancé will testify).

It’s a bit of a blow for someone that relies on an iPod to listen to the majority of their music: whether I am in the car, at the office, wandering the streets or mooching at home, I normally have my iPod in tow.

Had my iPod in tow.

I’ve had to change how I listen to music entirely. I’ve developed a coping strategy – have one main album I listen to all week and supplement it where possible with random EPs and MP3s. Every Monday I choose a new album, take it to the car for my daily commute and listen the hell out of it over the next seven days. Fortuitously, this coincides with the #musicmonday meme on Twitter so, I thought, why not combine the two? Until I can afford a new iPod (hmph), I’ll do a new one of these posts every week detailing what I’ve been listening to. This time, it’s Franz Ferdinand’s Tonight.

~~~

Long time readers will know that we discussed Franz Ferdinand in detail at the time that this album came out at the start of the year. The intervening eight or nine months have mystified me. By all rights, this album should be huge – properly huge. It’s a great album full of potential single material, trailed in an iPod commercial, poppy with a sinister edge and varying from the very rawky to the very acoustic and heartfelt.

Back in February I expressed concern that I wanted to like the album more than I did. A few months later it all clicked. It’s a masterstroke. It’s full of wonderful pop nuggets like the Apple-endorsed No You Girls whilst in turn still being a bit silly (Twilight Omens), a bit heavy (What She Came For) and a bit beautiful (Katherine Kiss Me).

It’s an absolute joy. I get very enthusiastic for the band’s eponymous debut – it built its own niche and populated it with some of the best songs from the past decade – but this album feels more rounded, more complete. After the so-so second album, this isn’t so much a return to form as a reinvention.

I guess that the music buying public suffered from Franz fatigue and left this one on the shelf. The band were really over-exposed, especially during the second album’s promotional tour. The singles seemed never ending and, frankly, a little samey by the end. Their seclusion to record Tonight should’ve rectified this but rather than releasing a great lead single they opted for the plodding, radio-unfriendly Ulysses. As a result, Tonight sold amazingly poorly.

Which is a proper waste of a great album.

It’s been an absolute joy listening to it again over the past week. If you never got round to giving it a proper listen, perhaps today’s the day to do so.

 

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Responses

  1. The dub album, ‘Blood’, is just a bit good too. May actually prefer it to the main album. The individual release has a shiny silver cover, which may have influenced me slightly. Plus, an extra track not on the original bonus disc.

  2. I’ve had the silver vinyl edition in my hands a few times but have never bought it. I already have the HMV limited version of the two-disc release and I was given the big boxset for my birthday – anything else is over indulgence!

  3. Very true. I simply have the original double vinyl (in oversized sleeve) plus the vinyl of Blood. Seems to do the trick. Did see the boxset for £35 the other day and was quite tempted.


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