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Music  |  Reviews

Franz Ferdinand: Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

[Sony/Epic]

January 27, 2009  |  10:00am
Franz Ferdinand: <em>Tonight: Franz Ferdinand</em>
The pitiful decline of a once-great band

Terrible bands make terrible records all the time, which is fine. No point wasting energy on whatever Nickelback's up to these days—those dudes can't help themselves, and are free to suck as much as they'd like. But it's been a long time since a band as good as Franz Ferdinand made a record as appalling as Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. Truly, the four dapper Scotsmen that constitute this group should be ashamed of their tuneless, thoughtless, meaningless new offering, which distorts the proud legacy of a band that once mattered.

What makes the album so bad? Is it the leering vocals? The uninspired melodies? The horrific production, which cranks the sound until it's literally painful to the ears? Yes, but that's not all. One mustn't forget the lyrics, which seem to lack both heart and brain. And how about the eight-minute "Lucid Dreams?" Before this album, it was inconceivable that a band this tight would release such a protracted wank. Now, anything's possible.

The album seems even worse compared with Franz's self-titled 2004 debut, an instant classic that kicked rock 'n' roll back onto the dance floor, where it belongs. The sophomore album that followed in 2005 was rougher, but it left hope that more good work was forthcoming. Maybe one day.

Franz took more than three years to make Franz—a laughably long time for such meager results. The layoff suggests that Franz is either too confused or too lazy to move forward. They're still not a bad band. They're just a pitiful caricature of the sly, swaggering gang they once were. We know they're capable of more. We know we could have it so much better.

Listen to Franz Ferdinand's "Dream Again" from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand:


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