Release Year: 2004
Debut albums are tricky things: they can either be unremarkable and pretty bad or they can be the most memorable thing out of a band’s career. Luckily for Franz Ferdinand, their debut falls in the latter category. Since its release, the record has been featured on countless list about the best debut albums of all time and even 1001 albums you must hear before you die. And when you hear it, you’ll hesitate to disagree. Mixing a unique blend of rock and dance, the band comes up with their own sound with music that makes you want to move and catchy lyrics that make you want to sing.
Even though a lot of their songs have a lot of energy behind it, the opening track “Jacqueline” begins pretty slow and mellow. One would say it has this somber tone, especially since it’s just vocals and some light guitar, that is until the raw, unforgiving bass line and the unchained guitar riff comes in and speeds up everything. It all gives the music this dangerous sound, as if it were made for a spy movie. Another thing that makes the song stand out is the catchy and relatable chorus: “It’s always better on holiday/so much better on holiday/that’s why we only work when/we need the money.” It’s like they’re saying what everyone who works is thinking.
“Tell Her Tonight” introduces the listener to the band’s odd, yet unique sound. It has this weird, jumpy music that sounds like it belongs in a disco dance hall. Surprisingly, it works well for the song. Even the vocal style is odd, but overall it’s a playful track that’ll get you moving. Next comes the popular “Take Me Out.” Not only is the song catchy as hell, but it has that recognizable guitar riff that got the band noticed in the first place. Also, the start/stop rhythm of the guitar and drums really makes the song. The music also a bit harder than it is on the other songs, but still one of the best here.
With this album, you’ll be hard pressed to find a song you don’t like. Whether it’s the odd, sometimes strange lyrics that rope you in or the awesome music that has undeniable energy and groove to it that gets to you, there’s something to love about every song. “Michael” has to be the most interesting song on the album. The lyrics talk about a beautiful “dance whore” boy in the club. What makes it so interesting is that it’s a male singer saying these lyrics that can be considered homoerotic; you just don’t see many singers of the same sex doing that unless they’re gay themselves. “Cheating on You” has this driving guitar riff packed with energy and speed. It also has this sleek, dangerous, and raw sound to it. Out of all of the tracks here, this one has the most garage rock feel to it. Though most of the album is seeped in raw rock, there are also hints of dance and funk in their music.
If the band had one goal in mind with this album, it was to make you dance and they succeeded. Though influences may not be overwhelming or all that obvious, there are hints of it in the music. One example of this can be heard in “Auf Achse.” The music is creepy and tragic sounding during the beginning, but after the intro the music gets this vibe that sounds ripped from 70’s disco. At times, it reminds you of something Abba would do (and I mean this in a good way). The band takes us back to the 80’s with “Come On Home.” What makes it sound so different from the other songs is that it has some electronic synth that gets you moving in the best possible way. For some reason it reminded of something Blondie would use in their songs. You can even hear some funk in the guitar riff found on “This Fire.” It’s not very obvious, but there’s a slight tinge to if you sit and listen to the main riff. All of these elements help to make the band stand out in terms of their sound.
Overall, the album gets 9/10. It has to be one of the most impressive debut albums out there and so far it’s held up pretty well. A lot of the songs have amazing energy and great music that makes you want to dance. Though their overall sound is based on garage rock, it’s great that they mix in other elements like dance and funk to give them a sound that makes them stand out. Sure, they have impressive singles, but you’re doing yourself an injustice if you don’t give the entire album a try.