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Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

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Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Tonight-FF.jpg
Studio album by Franz Ferdinand
Released 26 January 2009
Recorded 2007–08
Studio
Genre
Length 42:25
Label
Producer Dan Carey
Franz Ferdinand chronology
You Could Have It So Much Better
(2005)
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
(2009)
Blood
(2009)
Franz Ferdinand studio albums chronology
You Could Have It So Much Better
(2005)
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
(2009)
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
(2013)
Singles from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
  1. "Lucid Dreams"
    Released: 18 August 2008
  2. "Ulysses"
    Released: 19 January 2009
  3. "No You Girls"
    Released: 6 April 2009
  4. "Can't Stop Feeling"
    Released: 6 July 2009
  5. "What She Came For"
    Released: 31 August 2009
  6. "Live Alone"
    Released: 13 November 2009

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (also known simply as Tonight) is the third studio album by Scottish indie rock band Franz Ferdinand. It was released on 26 January 2009 through Domino Records in the UK and Epic Records in the US. It is the band's first studio album since You Could Have It So Much Better, which was released on 3 October 2005, roughly three and a half years earlier. The album was recorded in a span of two years at Mr. Dan's Studio in Buckeye, Arizona and the old town hall of Govan, Scotland. It has been described as a concept album loosely based around a night of partying and the morning effects after. The album has more of a dance-oriented sound, featuring styles of dance-punk, new wave, and electropop, marking a departure from the band's post-punk sound, which was featured on their past two albums.

Upon release, the album received generally favourable reviews from music critics and had a positive commercial performance, peaking at number two on the UK Albums Chart, number nine on the US Billboard 200, and charting in the top ten in several other countries. Five official singles have been released from the album: "Lucid Dreams", "Ulysses", "No You Girls", "Can't Stop Feeling", and "What She Came For". A remix album, titled Blood, was released on 1 June 2009 and contains dub remixes of most songs from Tonight.

Recording[edit]

Although having written about eight songs while on tour in 2005, Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy decided to write new music because they wanted the album to be "...quite new, to be quite different sounding from everything we've ever done before."[1] Despite having recorded their second album in a short amount of time, Kapranos stressed that the band wanted to take their time. He voices, "This time we wanted to spend more time developing, and also, I suppose, allowing songs and sounds to evolve more before we ended up writing an album, and absorbing more music and ideas and, I suppose, life itself. And when I say life, I mean life off the road, because I wouldn't classify life on the road as real life."[2] Franz Ferdinand began working on Tonight in early 2007.[1] Franz Ferdinand was supposed to record the album with producer Brian Higgins, yet in March 2008, the two entities parted ways. The drummer, Paul Thomson, says "We wrote with Higgins for a while and initially we thought we'd work more with him but it didn't really work out. We just realized that we're not really a pop group." However, they also commented they have not given up on the pop concept.[3] The songs on the album were written and recorded at the old town hall of Govan, Scotland as well as Mr. Dan's Studio in Buckeye, Arizona.[4] The band first moved in to Govan's old town hall following a year of touring in support of their second studio album and mostly used it for storing and rehearsing.[5]

Concept and musical style[edit]

Tonight is a concept album that explores the highs and lows associated with an evening of debauchery, as stated by a critic on online publication Ventvox. "This album covers all its bases from the initial excitement of the early evening to the numbness of the morning after", writes the reviewer. The line "come on, let's get high" from "Ulysses", the album's first track, reveals this theme.[6] The album has been influenced by non-British music. It has been inspired by the "heavy dub sound of Jamaican reggae stars" and has "the heavy bass and space echo you would find on a dub mix."[7] The album also has somewhat of an African influence. Alex Kapranos stated in an XFM article that "We're one of these bands that are always gonna sound the same no matter what we do, but there are other influences there. I guess the drums are a little different, Paul has been listening to a lot of African stuff so that's gonna come through."[8]

Tonight features styles of indie rock,[9] dance-punk,[10] new wave,[11] electropop,[11] and art rock.[12] In an interview with Billboard, Kapranos said that the album is "the opposite of punk/pop, which took something that was wonderful and removed all the dirt." He also said that the band was using Russian Polyvox synthesizers.[13] He also stated, in a Rolling Stone interview, that the album is more of a dance than a rock record.[2] A song on the album previously known as "Kiss Me", presumably re-titled "No You Girls", uses a human skeleton for percussion, to which The Guardian jokingly, in response, asked "Have Glasgow's finest gone all goth on us? What next? Zombie hunting? Gigs at the necropolis?"[14]

Cover art and album title[edit]

The artwork for the album is a photograph taken by Søren Solkær Starbird just after midnight behind the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow. Talking to NME, drummer Paul Thomson said, "We wanted to get a Weegee vibe – that famous New York crime scene photographer from the '40s and '50s."[15] Subsequently, it is part of a series where the band are taking photos with photographers in different cities they end up in. On the band's blog, they mention the series of photos as 'imaginary crime scenes, invaded by the photographer', and 'a slice of night frozen by flash'.[16]

It was announced on 20 September 2008 that they had finished work on the album but still had no title for it. On 7 October 2008, reporter Michael Hogan from Vanity Fair interviewed Alex and Paul, who confirmed the title of their third album to be Tonight,[17] with NME reporting the album's full title and release date a week later.[18]

Release[edit]

The band performing live in 2009, following the release of Tonight.

On 19 August 2008, Franz Ferdinand released "Lucid Dreams" through iTunes and made it available for streaming on their official website. It is also featured on the Madden NFL 09 soundtrack. The track on the album differs from this version and is four minutes longer.[19] The song peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.[20] "Ulysses" was released on 19 January 2009. The song received its first airplay during Zane Lowe's radio show on BBC Radio 1 on 17 November 2008 and was made available for streaming on the band's MySpace Music profile later that day.[21] It peaked at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart[22] and number 20 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.[23] It also charted in several other countries, marking a significant chart performance. "No You Girls" was released as a single on 6 April.[24] The song was used in a commercial for the iPod Touch.[25] The song peaked at number 22 in the UK[22] and number 106 on the Billboard Hot 100,[26] making it their first single to chart in the Hot 100 since "Do You Want To". It peaked in several other countries, as well, also marking a significant chart performance. On 22 January, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand was made available for streaming through the band's official MySpace Music profile.[27] "Can't Stop Feeling" was released as the next single from the album. The song didn't have a chart performance as positive as "Ulysses" and "No You Girls", but it did chart at number 19 on the Belgian Flanders Tip singles chart,[28] number 24 on the Polish Singles Chart,[29] number 47 on the Italian Singles Chart,[30] and number 69 on the French Singles Chart.[31] "What She Came For" was released as a single on 31 August 2009[32] and "Live Alone" was released as a single on 13 November 2009.[33] Both songs had the worst chart performance out of all songs as they didn't chart in any country.

Blood bonus disc[edit]

For its release on 26 January, the album is available as a box set which includes the whole album on six 7-inch vinyl singles and as a 2 disc limited edition. These special editions are only available in Europe and include a bonus disc called Blood which contains dub versions of the tracks from the album.[34]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 70/100[35]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[36]
The A.V. Club B–[37]
Drowned in Sound 6/10[38]
Entertainment Weekly B+[10]
NME 8/10[39]
The Observer 3/5 stars[40]
Pitchfork 7.3/10[41]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[42]
Spin 7/10[43]
Uncut 3/10[44]

Tonight received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album has a total score of 70/100 on Metacritic, based on 32 reviews, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[35] It did not receive the amount of critical acclaim their first two studio albums received.[45][46] Critics often praised the album's sound and the instrumentation of the songs on the album. The album's sound was also subject to criticism by some critics, as well as the lyrics and album production. Clash magazine commented that it could be "the band's most complete work to date. Worth the wait, and in all honesty better than we could ever have hoped for."[47] The Financial Post states that "Tonight is the band's best album: Paradoxically, they've allowed themselves a degree of release from their characteristic tension by creating structures within which they can cut loose."[48] The Telegraph commented on how Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is a melody-packed re-affirmation of everything that has made the band so popular hitherto, but with a highly contemporary-sounding, keyboard-driven edge.[49] The Trades stated that "this [album] is an evolutionary step for the band rather than a revolutionary one. Smart and danceable, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand proves that Franz Ferdinand are the masters of dance-rock."[50] NBC commented on how 'Franz Ferdinand has once again managed to outdo themselves with their best album to date.'[51]

Uncut's and The Guardian's reviews were less enthusiastic. Uncut commented that the album sounds dry and superficial, and the songs are too similar to each other and other Franz Ferdinand songs.[44] The Guardian stated that "if Franz's songwriting is broader than it was, it is still no deeper" and that "they'll keep trying to move your hips because they know they'll never win your heart."[40] This was echoed by the review in the Daily Mail, which described the album as "a sterile, unwelcoming affair that fails to pack the band's usual punch." Paste was similarly severe, stating that the vocals are "leering", the production "horrific", and that the lyrics "seem to lack both heart and brain" and conclude by writing that "the layoff suggests that Franz is either too confused or too lazy to move forward".[52]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Franz Ferdinand. 

No. Title Length
1. "Ulysses"   3:11
2. "Turn It On"   2:20
3. "No You Girls"   3:41
4. "Send Him Away"   2:59
5. "Twilight Omens"   2:29
6. "Bite Hard"   3:26
7. "What She Came For"   3:33
8. "Live Alone"   3:29
9. "Can't Stop Feeling"   3:02
10. "Lucid Dreams"   7:56
11. "Dream Again"   3:18
12. "Katherine Kiss Me"   2:55
Total length:
42:25
Japanese bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "Lucid Dreams" (Original Version) 3:42
14. "Ulysses" (Disco Bloodbath Effect) 8:03
15. "Feeling Kind of Anxious"   6:31
Total length:
60:43
iTunes bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "Lucid Dreams" (Original Version) (US and Canada editions) 3:42
14. "Ulysses" (Disco Bloodbath Effect) (European editions, US and Canada pre-order editions) 8:03
15. "Feeling Kind of Anxious" (US and Canada pre-order editions) 6:31

Personnel[edit]

Personnel adapted from the album's liner notes.[4]

Charts[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

The album had a significant chart performance. It debuted at number two on the UK Album Chart,[53] as well as number nine on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., selling about 31,000 copies in its first week of release.[54] The album, however, suffered a fifty-place decline on the Billboard 200 from #9 to #59 in its second week on the chart.[55] The album also charted in the top ten in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. The album had a chart performance similar to their second studio album, You Could Have It So Much Better, which also charted in the top ten in several countries.

Weekly charts[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Position
Swiss Albums Chart[77] 82

References[edit]

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External links[edit]