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Darts to The Head; Franz Ferdinand’s Deep Cuts

todayJuly 28, 2022 22 1 5

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Gilian Prado
Music Journalist

In honor of Franz Ferdinand releasing their new album entitled “Hits To The Head”;, it features some of the band’s most beloved tracks. I decided that we should also acknowledge some of their deep cuts. I’ve been a fan since I was 14 years old and now at 21 that still hasn’t changed and neither has my knowledge of their entire discography, which remains in my mind and Spotify. In fact, Franz Ferdinand was the first concert I ever attended at 17 years old, at Emo’s Austin. I still consider it one of my fondest memories and one of the best live performances I’ve seen a band deliver, I say that even after seeing a plethora of other live performances throughout the years. Since I do love most of their music I will keep the list to a top 5, one song from each studio album *Not including collaborations or singles*, if not this article will be obscenely long.

No 5. Huck and Jim 

Honorable mention Lazy Boy

From their 2018 album “Always Ascending”, “Huck and Jim” is a standout track tone wise from the others on the album. It starts off with borderline antagonistic vocals accompanied by a drum kit, which is something I’ve never really heard from the lead vocalist Alex Kapranos but I very much enjoyed. “Huck and Jim” is also rich in social commentary, Kapranos makes note of the faux bohemian lifestyle, and how he wants to show Americans what socialized healthcare is via the National Health Care system in the UK aka the NHS. Huck and Jim is a reference to Huckleberry Finn which Kapranos described as a perfect metaphor for America. The social commentary along with tonal differences are the reasons this track made it on the list. The honorable mention track Lazy boy has the most prevalent guitar riffs that have a groovy rhythm.  

No 4. Treason! Animals. 

honorable mention; Love and Destroy

Treason! Animals. Is from their album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Actions, which is also arguably the album that features the most existential themes. Treason is like if a Safdie brothers film was expressed via an indie rock song, Treason features paranoid and grandiose lyrics and an anxiety ridden synth part which drives the tempo of the song. 

“Hey friends when will you get here?

Hey friends I need to hear voices ….

Something has really really gone wrong.”

In the last third of the song, there is a shift, you have the backing vocals turning into a rhythmic chant as Kapranos sings about how he’s in love with a Narcissist/Nemesis/ Pharmacists/Analyst. I think this is meant to be a reflection of humanity itself. The song is a representation of humanity’s hubris towards itself and the animal kingdom. 

“I’m the king of the trees and animals

Self-crowned king of the trees and the animals

I’m a king so give me a crown.”

The honorable mention is a track called “Love and destroy”, so aptly named and based on the Russian novel “The master and The Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov. The track also features these post punk bouts of dirty guitar riffs which sonically hit just the right spot.

No 3. Bite Hard 

Honorable mentions What She Came For

Bite hard originates from the album Tonight. The song starts off as a sweet sounding ballad and then quickly evolves into an edgy indie rock piece. The song tells the story of a person trying to convince themselves they are over someone and ultimately failing. In the soft ballad, Kapranos states that he uses pseudonyms unbeknownst to his ex-lover to write songs about them. Once the tempo changes Kapranos shifts the focus of the song it’s no longer a lovers story but at that moment a justification for no faith in a religious sense.

“Are you happier now that the gods are dying?

Or do you dream of Heston with omniscient beard?

You should be happier now with no one to pray to

Or would you love to break your knees while begging and praying?”

The song then goes on talk about the feigning of positive emotions when in reality the emotions that are being felt are anything but, this is seen in the line

 “broken smile” and “No, I’d never resort to kissing your photo, honest I just had to see how the chemicals taste there, honey.”

This is another lie about his true feelings, obviously, nobody kisses a photo just to taste the chemicals he’s kissing the photo because he misses his lover. The song then continues with its previous set intensity and ends with it. The honorable mention for this album is What She came for my favorite part of the song is the ending where the band just lets loose and is one of the most cathartic parts of the album. 

No 2. I’m Your Villain

Honorable mention Evil and a Heathen 

I’m Your Villain is a track off the album You Could Have It So Much Better, which was released on my birthday, October 3. Contrary to what the name might suggest sonically it’s more of a sanguine song. In the song, Kapranos exhibits a yearning for a connection and later on, he rejects it. 

“Oh, if I could laugh I’d love you

Oh, if I could smile at anything you said

We could be laughing lovers”

He also uses a brilliant simile to state the serious nature of a person

“like a waiter

Hating the rich

But taking their tips”

By the end of the song, he seems to revel in his circumstances; the tone continues to be sanguine as the title suggests he accepts being the villain. Evil and Heathen is a track that draws you in and as a result, you adopt that devil may care attitude in addition to being catchy. 

No 1. Jacqueline Honorable mentions 40’ and Cheating on you,  

Jacqueline starts off softly with vocals and strums of a guitar and tells us about Jacqueline who is a 17 year old working a desk job. Then the tempo picks up and we get this intoxicating bass part and now we are told about how much better things are on holiday. They go on to say that holidays are so great that they only work to fund their trips. The guitar riffs are played perfectly in post punk revival fashion and energy. The song also further goes on to capture the musician’s lifestyle and to describe a particular bender in which they were so drunk that “I don’t mind if you kill me.” The song then ends with more intense vocals singing the chorus. Cheating on you tells the story of someone finding out their partner is cheating on them and in retaliation, they cheat as well, the song is high energy and makes you revel in its spite. 

 

Written by: Jordan Young

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