You can't really have Ferdinand much better

By Andi Berlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 13, 2005

An album can have a lot of great songs, but that doesn't make it great. A great album is great from start to finish.

A great album never fills you with the need to change the track; it flows from the beginning to the end with so much ease that by the time you're done listening to it, you almost forget that you turned it on in the first place. But putting it on somehow makes your day just a little bit better.

A great album requires little to no effort on your part, but is astoundingly and endlessly rewarding.

Franz Ferdinand's, You Can Have It So Much Better is a great album. The sophomore release from Scottish Mercury Prize winners Franz Ferdinand is exactly what a second album should be. It takes the original concept and sound from the first album, but kicks it up a few notches. Bam!

Franz Ferdinand's self-titled debut showed promise with its funky up-tempo party anthems like "Take Me Out" and "This Fire," but was contaminated with filler and uninteresting riffs. You Can Have it So Much Better really does do it better by replacing the more boring tracks with solid and catchy melodies, up-tempo and down-tempo this time.

The new album shows a more mature Franz Ferdinand, one that is comfortable in the shoes of a world-class rock band, but also not afraid to open up and show us its softer side.

Own it!

9 out of 10
Franz Ferdinand

A lot of the tracks on the album recall the best parts of the first go-around. The first single "Do You Want To" has a catchy non-committal beat, backed by horns and tight guitar rhythms. "You're the Reason I'm Leaving" swerves through tempo and time signature changes, unconventional melodies and hip-beating knee-tapping drum beats just like "Take Me Out."

Although some of the lyrics are dark and just a little bit off-kilter ("I like to lock myself in your bathroom" or "I watch you clean the filth of your phone dial"), you don't really notice behind the quirky feel-good tone of the instruments and voice.

But, contrary to the last release, this vibe doesn't monopolize the album. "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" is an earnest tribute to a woman who can never stop running. Over a softly playing piano, lead singer Alex Kapranos weaves images in our minds of floating down from the highest point of a Coney Island roller coaster and climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

This track and the many others cement Franz Ferdinand's status as one of the most creative sincere bands in the world today. Each song on the album is great because it can be a hit single all by itself, but doesn't overstep its bounds and become pretentious.

You Can Have it So Much Better is a concept album, but only in the sense that 13 individually great songs can actually make a great thing to listen to. Now that's a concept.