Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rock and Roll Is Fun

title: you could have it so much better with...
artist: franz ferdinand
rating: most excellent

about 15 years ago, kurt cobain and nirvana simultaneously made rock and roll relevant again, and also managed to completely suck the life out of it. the whole "why me? i just wanna write songs, not be famous," mentality created a whole generation of rock stars who simply hated the attention. there was no room for the mick jaggers, the david lee roths...certifiable rock stars that at once made great rock music and seemed to have a great time doing it. rivers cuomo, fiona apple, lauryn hill...all succumbed to the pressure of fame at one time or another.
then about four years ago there were rumblings of a rock and roll revival of sorts coming out of new york. the strokes were coming...rock and roll is back!!! or at least everyone thought so, but you couldn't understand a damn thing julian casablancas was saying, and when i saw them live in 2001, it seemed like they wanted to be doing something else (which i overheard, verbatim, from casablancas in the bathroom only 20 minutes before the show.)
so the wait continued. then about two years ago i got my hands on a copy of a cd by a scottish band named after the guy that got shot to start world war I. i listened to the first franz ferdinand cd about 4 times in a row, and i could feel it again, the pure elation that rock music can provide, even when the songs are about the boredom of being middle class, about being broke, and all the other sad/angry things that rock music's usually about. their choppy riffs, new wave rhythms, and above all alexander kapranos's cocksure, wink-and-a-nod voice that floats and wails all over the band's rhythmic exercises and exchanges was not revolutionary but absolutely refreshing.
on "franz ferdinand" kapranos always sounds like he's got a drink in his hand, and maybe a bit too much pick me up in his pants, unable to even keep his focus on one specific gender ("michael.)" the new album is no different. it's not so much an "album" as a collection of singles, each one standing on its own. 3-4 minutes of exuberant, brazen rock and roll come ons delivered without artifice or pretension. franz ferdinand is not out to change the world, a la u2, or even change rock and roll. what they do intend to do, and succeed at so masterfully on "you could have it so much better...," is to kick rock music square on its ass and inject it with the sex-drugs-party-drinks-sex-kiss off attitude that the genre sorely misses. the sounds on "you could have it so much better..." vary greatly from "franz ferdinand," with kapranos doing his best paul mccartney over some piano riffs on "eleanor get your boots on" and the guitar work seems to owe more to 70's garage rock than they do to the 80's new wave of the first album. "you could have it so much better..." holds true to its title though, because franz ferdinand take everything they've learnt over the years about rock and roll and put it together to create an album that manages to breathe life back to what many people thought was a dead genre.


Blogger Ravi said...

I have a bootleg of one of Franz Ferdinand's concerts should you be interested. It's quality is pretty good, obviously not as good as a commercial live album.

3:00 PM  

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