You Could Have it So Much Better – Franz Ferdinand

220px-BetterRelease Year: 2005

Rating: 8.5/10

Franz Ferdinand became one of the hottest bands in the alternative scene when their debut album dropped. While that was a phenomenal album, for their second effort they come back back with better songs and fresh music that finds them mixing it up in terms of their sound. The record is fun, upbeat, energetic, and full of songs that make you feel good. The record also finds them improving as musicians as the music bounces, flourishes, and jumps along the tracks.

Guitars ring out loud and true on the opening track “The Fallen.” It’s a great way to open the album, especially with the catchy melody found on both the riff and the chorus. Though the song is good, it makes way for the superb “Do You Want To.” For such a simple track, it still remains one of their best singles. They’re cheeky, cocky, and you can’t help but love it. The chorus is hands down the best part of the song; it’s something you always have to sing out loud whenever you hear it. With witty lines like “He’s a friend and he’s so proud of you/your famous friend well I blew him before you/oh yeah” make it seem like the track touches on the superficiality of fame and celebrity. Whatever it’s about, you can’t deny how catchy it is.

Like most of their albums, there are a bunch of great songs here. “I’m Your Villain” starts out with a bit of a groove as Alex Kapranos sings “I’m your villain” in a sinister manner. Just when you get used to the music, it abruptly switches the pace and turns fast, brash, and energetic. After the chorus, it reverts to the original beat and pace. If done poorly, the change in music would sound like a disjointed mess, but Franz Ferdinand somehow manage to pull it off and make it sound good. Another track that mashes two styles together is “Well That Was Easy.” When it starts off, the music comes rushing at you not leaving you a second to think about what you’re hearing. But when the second verse starts, the pace changes again making it slow and mellow. Again, they pull off the dynamic flawlessly.

The band has always played around with their sound and they do more of the same here. “Walk Away” has a psychedelic sound that makes it sound like something from The Yardbirds, while “Fade Together” has more of a folk and country sensibility, especially with the extensive twang of the guitars. “The Outsiders” takes influence from ’70s disco and early ’80s new wave. It sounds like a weird mix, but as soon as the upbeat music starts, you’ll be dancing before you know it. It’s one of those tracks that makes you feel good and gets you moving. The ’60s Beatles-esque influence comes back on “Eleanor Put Your Boots On” with the soothing vocals and laid back vibe and “Evil and a Heathen” has more of a rockabilly swing style to it, especially with how jaunty and bouncy the music sounds. All the different styles makes the album exciting and fresh, keeping the listener on their toes.

Part of what makes this album and most of their records so great is the music. On tracks like “This Boy” and “What You Meant” the music is upbeat and fun. The bounciness and driving rhythm of “You’re the Reason I’m Leaving” puts you in a good mood and makes you want to dance. All of them are full of energy and life. A great example is the title track. It has a great punk influence that’s full of energy along with an awesome hook that gets lodge in your brain. They make you feel good, even if the content isn’t that uplifting. Though there are some slow songs, for the most part the album moves at a good pace that leaves you bobbing along to each passing song. If anything, this record along with their others, show that the band has a knack for making great, fun music.

Overall, the album gets 8.5/10. While their debut effort is strong, this album is just as good. They manage to pull off some great hits that have gone on to be their best songs. Here, they also take influence from different genres mixing it up in terms of their music and sound. Even if the content is a little bleak, the music is fun and catchy and reminds you what a great band Franz Ferdinand are.

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