Last week, Scottish alternative rock band Franz Ferdinand released its third studio album, ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.” The album marks a major change for the group, indicating a move away from a more traditional rock sound and a step toward the dance music genre.
The buzz prior to the album’s release promised that ‘Tonight” would show a great deal of change and experimentation for the group.
Long-lived bands of the Brit-alternative music set such as Radiohead have proved that significant growth and transformation is necessary to stay at the top of the charts.
Franz Ferdinand’s previous two albums, 2004’s ‘Franz Ferdinand” and 2005’s ‘You Could Have It So Much Better” showed considerable success but relatively few signs of musical change.
‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” does not disappoint in terms of displaying the band’s growth. The album is decidedly ‘clubby” in sound, featuring funky beats and pop-like hooks. Guitars are largely thrown aside in favor of synthesized instrumentation. It is hard to listen to ‘Tonight” and not tap a toe, give in to head bobbing or simply get up and begin dancing.
Surprisingly, despite the band’s indie roots, ‘Tonight” would not seem out of place spilling out of the speakers of a trendy clothing store or a popular dance club.
‘Tonight” is certainly aware of its own nod to the pop scene. It introduces listeners to the album with the first track ‘Ulysses,” opening with a stark, intense beat paired with frontman Alex Kapranos’s party-ready lyric, ‘let’s get high.”
Moog-sounding, synthesized melodies and steady beats take the spotlight in the opening track as well as the second, ‘Turn It On,” which is short, enthusiastic and probably the most popish track of them all.
The funk beat of ‘No You Girls” is fun and infectious, but it overshadows the less-memorable tracks of ‘Send Him Away” and ‘Live Alone.” Fortunately, the funkiness picks right up again with the unique, bouncy tracks ‘Twilight Omens” and ‘Can’t Stop Feeling.”
The eight-minute-long ‘Lucid Dreams” stands in contrast with the shorter tracks, but this song is, hands down, the highlight of the album.
The song features the most attention-grabbing instrumentation on the album and then breaks down into a stirring keyboard and percussion section that carries the entire second half of the song. This track may end up being one of Franz Ferdinand’s most memorable tunes.
If ‘Lucid Dreams” is the unsinkable ship that leads ‘Tonight,” then the following track, ‘Dream Again,” follows on its heels like a small but appropriate wave in its wake.
The album comes to a close with the well-chosen, slower, acoustic cool down, ‘Katherine Kiss Me.”
This track repeats some lyrics from the earlier song ‘No You Girls,” bringing the album to a conclusion in a neat circle. The song itself is memorable; it is reminiscent of ‘Eleanor Put Your Boots On,” the lovely ballad from the band’s second album.
At times, ‘Tonight” feels rushed and angry, rather than successfully embodying the dance style it seems to be aiming for. ‘Bite Hard” tries to preserve the more traditional Franz Ferdinand sound but overdoes the intensity in an unpleasant way.
Likewise, ‘What She Came For” fails to provide the enjoyable funk sound of the other tracks and instead sounds closer to a run-of-the-mill jam band.
Overall, though, ‘Tonight” presents a unique combination of rhythms worthy of Timbaland’s respect, while staying true to the indie flavor of the band’s first two albums.
‘Tonight” is a sturdy indication that Franz Ferdinand has the versatility necessary to stay in the forefront of the music scene for quite some time.
Gaylo is a member of
the class of 2012.

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