You Could Have It So Much Better

Studio Album by released in 2005
You Could Have It So Much Better's tracklist:
The Fallen
Send Ringtone
Do You Want To
Send Ringtone
This Boy
Send Ringtone
Walk Away
Send Ringtone
Evil and a Heathen
Send Ringtone
You're the Reason I'm Leaving
Send Ringtone
Eleanor Put Your Boots On
Send Ringtone
Well That Was Easy
Send Ringtone
What You Meant
Send Ringtone
I'm Your Villain
Send Ringtone
You Could Have It So Much Better
Send Ringtone
Fade Together
Send Ringtone
Outsiders
Send Ringtone

You Could Have It So Much Better review

Glasgow's art-damaged rock quartet Franz Ferdinand – named for the Austro-Hungarian Archduke whose murder sparked World War I – features bassist Bob Hardy, guitarist Nick McCarthy, drummer Paul Thomson, and singer/guitarist Alex Kapranos. In late 2001, Kapranos and Hardy had begun working on music together when they met McCarthy, a classically trained pianist and double bass player who originally played drums for the group despite no prior experience as a drummer. The trio had been rehearsing at McCarthy's house for a while when they met and started playing with Thomson, a former drummer for the Yummy Fur who felt like playing guitar instead. Eventually, McCarthy and Thomson switched to guitar and drums. The band's eponymous debut album was released in 2004. The more you liked it, the more likely you are to feel apprehensive about its follow-up. But Franz Ferdinand's new album, You Could Have It So Much Better, improves vastly on their first release. After setting the world alight last year the boys didn’t hang around too long before getting started on the follow up. Recorded in Scotland and New York, You Could Have It So Much Better shows that the band’s style has matured and developed. On the new album, the band grows closer to the sound they seem to be trying for, perfecting it further and writing more complete songs. This sound is still unmistakably Franz Ferdinand but they’ve tapped into something deeper and more resonant.

Franz Ferdinand brought in Mars Volta producer Rich Costey, the result is an album, which radically extends their musical palette. Songs like the first single Do You Want To and Well That Was Easy recall the first album, with catchy dance beats and a fun sound. The Fallen and Evil And A Heathen bring complicated instrumentation into play, with a fuller sound, and This Boy is the catchiest 2-minute song since the Beatles. Franz Ferdinand even get oddly original on the new album, with songs like You Could Have It So Much Better, a talk-and-sing number with an odd sound, and Eleanor Put Your Boots On, which steals its sound directly from the Beatles. Beyond hipster quips and hedonism, however, Franz Ferdinand are busy expanding their emotional palette. They really shine through on their slower, emotional numbers like Walk Away, which could bring a lump to anyone's throat. It is a fragile indie-soul piece, Alex Kapranos cooing "mascara bleeds into my eyes" over a tune reminiscent of London garage rockers The Flaming Stars (although it also features references to Mao-Tse Tung and Hitler, so don’t be too quick to pin this one as a love song). Fade Together, the penultimate track, is a beautiful love ballad unlike anything the band has made before. Proving that Franz Ferdinand are anything but predictable, the ultimate Outsiders is all erratic beats, hazy atmospherics, searing guitars and somewhat detached, eerie vocals.

The record is a million miles away from the over-hasty follow-ups that hobbled former indie golden boys The Vines and BRMC's careers, both of which sounded like collections of tracks left over from their first albums. Instead, You Could Have It So Much Better is bigger, stranger, more complicated album, but with a darkly seductive current that pulls you under for good. For Franz Ferdinand it’s an assured, endearingly cocky return that builds on the strengths of its predecessor, and importantly, brings a few more tricks to the table. You Could Have It So Much Better should further fortify your fondness for the amiable Scots.