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Music / Franz Ferdinand

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The original quartet. Left to right: Alex, Paul, Nick and Bob.
When I woke up tonight, I said I'm,
Gonna make somebody love me,
I'm gonna make somebody love me,
And now I know, now I know, now I know,
I know that it's you,
You lucky, lucky, You're so lucky!
— "Do You Want To"

Franz Ferdinand is a Scottish Post-Punk/Dance-Punk band formed in 2002. They're named after a racehorse, Archduke Ferdinand, which was named after the Austrian archduke whose assassination sparked World War I.

The members are:

  • Alex Kapranos - lead vocals, guitar
  • Bob Hardy - bass guitar note 
  • Dino Bardot - guitar (2017-present)
  • Julian Corrie - keyboard (2017-present)
  • Audrey Tait - drums (2021-present)

Former members include:

  • Nick McCarthy- backing vocals, keyboard, rhythm guitar (left the band in July 2016 to focus on his family)
  • Paul Thomson - drums (left in 2021)


  • Franz Ferdinand (2004)
  • You Could Have It So Much Better (2005)
  • Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (2009)
    • Blood: Franz Ferdinand (2009) - A dance-rock dub Remix Album of Tonight.
  • Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (2013)
  • FFS (2015) - Collaborative album with Sparks (McCarthy's last album)
  • Always Ascending (2018) (Thomson's last album)
  • Hits to the Head (2022)

I say, don't you know? You say you don't know, I say trope me out:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: "Johnny Delusional" is about a guy obsessed with a girl even though he knows she's completely out of his league. Possibly bordering on Stalker with a Crush.
    I know yes and no in a couple dozen other languages
    But your form of no is the kind of look I can't deny
    Tell me, are persistence and stupidity the same?
    Tell me, is resistance so enticing, please explain
  • Alliterative Name: Franz Ferdinand, duh.
  • Alliterative Title: "Swallow, Smile", "Forty Feet" (usually written as "40'"). Album wise, there's Always Ascending and Hits to the Head.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As Kyle McGovern of Spin magazine noted regarding the "Evil Eye" music video:
    "The clip splices together a stomach-turning montage of gross-out footage: Blood spewing from a sink faucet, people getting butchered and dismembered, throats being cut, cannibalism, and frontman Alex Kapranos sporting a dirtbag mustache."
  • The Backwards Я: In, at minimum, the video for "This Fire". Fitting, as the video has a heavy influence of Soviet Constructivist art.
  • Blithe Spirit: Lynsey Wells (of "L. Wells"), particularly as depicted in the video. Worth noting that she is a real person the band knew (though not the girl in the video).
  • Break-Up Song: "Walk Away".
  • Call-Back/Continuity Nod: the ending of "Swallow, Smile" echoes the lyrics from "Well That Was Easy".
  • Captain Obvious: This extract from "This Fire":
    "Now there is a fire in me, a fire that burns".
  • Concept Album: Tonight:, the tale of a long, hard-partying night of drunken debauchery (most likely in Glasgow).
  • Concept Video: "Jeremy Fraser".
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: Averted with their cover of "Womanizer".
    • Played straight however with their cover of "Call Me".
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The videos for "L. Wells", "Jeremy Fraser", "Bullet" and Fresh Strawberries and a lot of promotional pictures. It's fair to say they quite like this trope.
    • A variant appears in the video for "Feel the Love Go", it's filmed in grainy VHS quality with 480 aspect ratio, appropriate for the '80s theme of the video.
  • Deranged Animation: The video for "Take Me Out" is a surreal melange of clockworks, body parts, old-school sketches, and abstract diagrams.
  • Dream Walker: A common interpretation of "Lucid Dreams" is that it's about a man wanting his lover to join him in dreamland.
  • Ending Theme: "Do You Want To" is the ending theme to Paradise Kiss.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: "Michael".
  • Epic Rocking: "Lucid Dreams" is almost 8 minutes long.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "No You Girls" uses a human skeleton for percussion.
  • Gratuitous German:
  • Gratuitous Japanese: "Sõ Desu Ne" (literally "I guess so") from FFS, although slightly less gratuitous than usual since the song is at least about a Japanese girl.
  • Guyliner: All the band members in the music video for "This Fire".
  • Intercourse with You: "Do You Want To".
  • In the Style of:
    • "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" and "Wine in the Afternoon" are described as "Beatlesque".
    • The music video for "Walk Away" is done in the style of a Film Noir.
  • Kids Are Cruel: "Jeremy Fraser", which may also double as a Murder Ballad.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: The subject of "Come On Home" and "Eleanor Put Your Boots On".
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The original lineup of Alex Kapranos, Bob Hardy, Paul Thomson, and Nick McCarthy lasted from 2002 until 2016, when McCarthy departed. In 2017, the band added Dino Bardot and Julian Corrie.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Do You Want To", "Lucid Dreams" (album version only).
  • Madness Mantra: The outro of "Treason! Animals" as said in the lyric packet. "I am an animal, oh give me an animal crown (x infinity)"
  • Mind Screw: The album version of "Lucid Dreams".
    • Also the music video for "Johnny Delusional". Be warned, it's also a more literal mind screw as the constant spinning motion may end up making you dizzy.
  • New Sound Album: Tonight.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Demagogue" is pretty clearly a Take That! against Trump.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Auf Achse".
  • Obsession Song: "This Fire", "Turn It On"
  • Ode to Intoxication:
    • "Ulysses", although it's more about getting high than drunk.
    • Averted with "Wine in the Afternoon". It's a standard love song; the drinking is thrown in as a bonus.
  • One-Man Song: "Jeremy Fraser", "Ulysses", "Michael".
  • One-Woman Song: "Jacqueline", "L. Wells" (the L. is short for "Lynsey"), "Katherine Kiss Me", and "Eleanor Put Your Boots On".
  • One-Word Title: "Ulysses", "Michael", "Jacqueline", "Outsiders", "Demagogue".
  • Opening Theme: "This Fffire" serves as this for Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.
  • Perspective Flip: At the end of "No You Girls", the lyrics are sung from a girl's point of view.
  • Post-Punk: One of the Post-Punk Revival bands that rose to success in the 2000s.
  • Queer Romance: The narrator of "Michael" really, really wants to dance and make out with a hot guy he sees at a club.
  • Recycled Lyrics: Taken to its logical extreme; "No You Girls" and "Katherine Kiss Me" are the same song, on the same album, with a different melody. This is driven home on Alex's Soundcloud, where the demo version of "No You Girls" is named "Catherine Kiss me".
  • Religion Rant Song: "The Fallen". As Alex would have it, Jesus Was Way Cool, and were he alive today, would be hanging with the poor and downtrodden, and not the self-declared Christians drinking champagne and riding in limousines. (In other words, the last Christian died on the Cross, and Christ is so unlike the Christians).
    • While the lyrics have nothing to do with it, the video for Feel the Love Go is mocking TV evangelists who scam money out of their followers.
  • Remix Album: Blood: Franz Ferdinand is all dub-inspired remixes of Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.
  • Retraux: The band loves all kinds of tasteful blast-from-the-past fashions, to say nothing of all the vintage equipment they use.
  • The Roaring '20s: Their first album runneth over with the references to the '20s — especially in the videos, which are obviously influenced by Dada and Vkhutemas/Soviet Constructivism.
  • Safety in Indifference: "Live Alone" is about the singer avoiding intimacy with his lover so that nothing ruins their relationship.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their debut. Originally every single album would be named Franz Ferdinand, differentiated by the cover, but the idea was dropped.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The original four. Look at the page picture. Alternately, look at the video for "This Fire". It goes with everything they've done, too, from the Soviet Constructivist look of their first album to whatever you call what they're doing now.
  • Shown Their Work: Sure, they may have been named for a horse rather than the assassinated archduke, but All For You Sophia shows they aren't ignorant of the latter.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the lyrics booklet, the line "come and dance with me" in "Michael" is preceded by a crossed-out "come all over me."
    • At the end of "The Dark of the Matinée": So I'm on BBC 2 now/Telling Terry Wogan how/I made it and/What I made is not clear now/But his laughter is and his deference is...
    • "Love and Destroy" is based on the plot of The Master and Margarita.
    • "Ulysses", natch. (Although a reference to that other Ulysses may have been intended, as well.)
    • From "Outsiders": "In seventeen years / Will you still be Camille, / Lee Miller, Gala or whatever".
    • "Walk Away" is rife with references to Radio 4 and various historical figures.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Wine in the Afternoon".
  • Sixth Ranger: Andy Knowles of The Fiery Furnaces, who occasionally filled in on an instrument if the main player goes on something else (keyboard, drums, what have you)
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Some of the songs (e.g. "Jeremy Fraser", "Fabulously Lazy" and "Van Tango") are sung by Nick, and the German version of "Tell Her Tonight" is sung by Paul.
  • Stylistic Suck: The video for "Evil Eye" is made to look like a low-budget horror film.
    • The video for Feel the Love Go is made to look like an '80s telecast of a Fake Evangelist complete with grainy VHS quality, bad wigs, a painfully fake dog, and clip art of a winged saxophone floating around the screen during the sax solo.
  • Subliminal Seduction: If played backwards, "Michael" contains a secret message:
    Call your mother, she's worried about you
  • Supergroup: They formed FFS with Sparks in the mid-2010s, and they made it clear that it was a whole new band and not Sparks backed by Franz Ferdinand or Franz Ferdinand featuring Sparks.
  • Surreal Music Video:
    • "Take Me Out", making use of collage techniques similar to Dada and Terry Gilliam's animations for Monty Python.
    • "Evil Eye". Even with the low-budget horror film look, it still doesn't explain everything going on there.
    • Their B-Side release, "Erdbeer Mund" is sung completely in German, contains visual effects last seen in an acid trip, and contains Nick McCarthy in drag.
    • "Love Illumination'' cuts to rapidly shifting random patterns, weirdly sexual images, stiffly moving creatures, the band in animal masks, and a bunch of other strangeness. Drugs not required.
  • Title Track:
    • "You Could Have It So Much Better".
    • "Right Action" is a shortening of the album's title, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
  • Translated Cover Version: Their German cover of "Tell Her Tonight," featuring Paul. Strange, seeing as it was Nick who grew up in Bavaria.
  • Unplugged Version: Acoustic versions have been recorded of "Take Me Out", "The Fallen", "Twilight Omens", "Walk Away", "No You Girls", "Ulysses", "The Dark of the Matinee", and "Darts of Pleasure", the latter under a different name.
  • Video Nasties: The video to "Evil Eye" pays homage to the genre.
  • Yandere: The FFS song "So Desu Ne".
    She's a mountaineer of love
    She's climbing Mount Fuji
    Nothing but a Kenzo kimono on
    Carrying a Hello Kitty Uzi
  • Your Makeup Is Running: "Walk Away":
    Mascara bleeds a blackened tear