Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rock of Ages: Franz Ferdinand - "Take Me Out" (2004)

When Franz Ferdinand first came on the radio and when I first saw their trippy, paper cut out looking video for their first single "Take Me Out," I knew I was going to get something special. A throwback to the sound of Britain's past, but with infused updates and modernizations. Not many, but enough to make the garage rockers from Scotland something fresh and new yet familiar and retro. The self titled debut and the "Take Me Out" stand as a test of the 00's. Retro was in and not just on the level of 80's rip-offs. What we got instead with this single is a romping, mod sound, much like the early Kinks or Who coming from our stereos. The opening to the song was a jangly fast paced guitar riff and snappy drums that quickly turned into a disco, slow rocker that would get any square off the wall and onto the dance floor. At least, in my mind, that is what it may have did for me. Anyone who thinks the 00's are devoid of great catchy riffs and pop songs, then look no further than to Franz Ferdinand.

Unlike other recent entries on this list, "Take Me Out" is a catchy riff that is not embodied in either synthetic sounds or in harder, faster rock music (see posts on "No One Knows", "Romantic Rights" and "Blood and Thunder" for other amazing catchy riffs, but the opposite effect of this track.) The disco drum beat is one thing that keeps this track moving. Like the mechanics of a great machine that produces people to dance, the rhythm section along with the appropriately beat driven guitars are reminiscent of both early 60's mod sound as well as late 70's new wave like XTC. It's a refreshing sound. Alex Kapranos, the suave front man, brings his own swagger to the lead vocals somewhere between the bravado of Mick Jagger and the confident croon of Frank Sinatra, but with a rock and roll attitude. They would stay consistent although less jaw dropingly fun with their latest two records, but Franz Ferdinand has set themselves apart from the nu-wave movement to become something special. Amidst throwbacks to the 80's, they made it possible to still be cool and current whilst being retro.

Up Next: Your body goes to waste every minute you don't give it to Electric Six

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