Tonight: Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. The mix of Alex Kapranos' louche croon with the band's disciplined racket is still a knockout, and they've switched things up enough to keep it interesting.
  2. This might not be the ‘music of the night’ that rotund talent show type Lloyd Webber and his phantoms had in mind, but based on the majority of this album Messrs Kapranos, Hardy, McCarthy and Thomson can definitely take us out tonight.
  3. Tonight is a resounding success, and the first essential pop record of 2009.
  4. 80
    While Tonight: Franz Ferdinand might not take all the chances those early reports suggested, it shows the band examing their world from all angles, from the unflattering profile in the mirror behind the batr to the long hard look into the soul. Life in three dimensions suits them very well indeed. [Feb 2009, p.102]
  5. 80
    As usual, Franz Ferdinand pack a greatest-hits album’s worth of melodic tricks into each tune, while Kapranos purrs the sort of pick-up lines that would earn a lesser man a gimlet in the face.
  6. Four middle-aged men discover a dance element to their music... and it’s good!
  7. It will be bettered, as surely as night follows day, but there might not be another album released in the next 12 months that offers the same delirious, sugar-coated enjoyment, let alone one that matches it with Kapranos' casually whip-smart lyrics.
  8. While it would have been interesting to hear a further evolution of the band's sound, the album offers plenty of adrenaline, pheromones and stealthy sophistication, thanks to Bob Hardy's driving bass, Alex Kapranos' expressive crooning and the band's unusual ability to make every song sound like a single.
  9. What Franz Ferdinand have proven is that not only do they make impressive albums but that they are capable of trying out new sounds with great skill. It’s still the same band we fell in love with, only they have incorporated more sounds into their arsenal and with songs as good as these, it’s a welcome addition.
  10. A subtler, smarter album with a considerable capacity to get you moving.
  11. 78
    The lurching rhythms, slick hooks and stomping choruses are still everywhere you turn, but the Fraz lads have branched out, with seemingly mixed results. [Holiday 2008, p.90]
  12. Here the band, with producer Dan Carey (Hot Chip, CSS) at their side, dip their big toe into electro-pop, Afrobeat (sorta), new-wave seizures, and all manner of groove that bespeak body-rockin' pleasures.
  13. More so than stoking the band's current commercial prospects, Tonight is an exciting record for what it could potentially spell for Franz Ferdinand's future.
  14. While hardly the evolutionary leap forward that the band had suggested was afoot, Tonight is still, inarguably, fine for now.
  15. Taken as a whole, it’s the rare album that flirts with enough styles that it renders notions of classification irrelevant, and ultimately more of a Franz Ferdinand album than a dance album. [Year End 2008]
  16. Does Tonight satisfy what we were all hoping for after three years between albums, along with the lofty expectations that are by definition bound to accompany a concept album/rock opera? Probably not. But, is it better than "You Could Have It So Much Better?" Definitely, if not only for the points on the record where Kapranos and company get it oh so right.
  17. It's often catchy and kinetic in the moment, yet it still feels like Franz Ferdinand has the potential to do more with their music than just slightly tweak and polish a sound they established several albums ago.
  18. Franz Ferdinand mainly stick to their small, intensely flavorful basics, packing songs with tempo changes and propulsive guitar riffs.
  19. 70
    Even at just 42 minutes, Tonight is relentless, yet the comedown is exquisite.
  20. Tonight... isn't a bad album by any means, and it's certainly an improvement on their last effort, but at the same time you can't shake the feeling that they missed a trick.
  21. While not all of those risks pay off, what works about Tonight speaks to the band's greater maturity and vision.
  22. All in all, the band just isn’t as melodically inclined this time around, and it’s a damn shame, too, because by and large, this still remains the band’s most adventurous outing to date--just not their most memorable.
  23. As usual, their guitar interplay is well-lubricated and dirty when appropriate, but in spite of the reheated disco tropes and skronky electronics, much of Tonight feels like it's been forged with the same stale, trademarked chorus in hand.
  24. They’ve defied compartmentalisation again, managed to avoid crippling themselves in their dramatic reduction of outright 'singles' material, and left the door open to a number of future experiments. Unfortunately it just means that Tonight becomes a makeweight.
  25. 60
    For all their adroitness, most of the songs on Tonight sound too similar to each other (and to existing Franz Ferdinand songs).
  26. There's plenty of evidence on Tonight... of attempts at broadening their palette, but it's usually by substituting jerky guitar for jerky synthesizer as the lead instrument. [Feb 2009, p.110]
  27. At its best, the disc forges a middle ground where trebly guitar power is fortified by the electronics, resulting in a new propulsion. At its worst, the disc is as meaningful as "superstar DJ" sets, designer drugs and having your picture taken by the Cobrasnake. [Feb 2009, p.99]
  28. You sense that compromises have been made between the desire to do something artistically challenging and the desire to retain both continuity and fanbase, and that, often, the compromise reached is the wrong one.
  29. There’s still enough innovation and experimentation among the banalities here to suggest that they might have a great fourth album in them.
  30. Now they sound less like they're playing to their strengths and more like they're admitting their limitations; they'll keep trying to move your hips because they know they'll never win your heart. Tonight is fine, but will you still love them tomorrow?
  31. 40
    A group this weird and quirky should be able to produce dozens of albums that never loose their delicious twee taste. Perhaps what FF should try next is trying nothing at all.
  32. Rather than risk experimenting with anything radically new, they’ve cautiously tried tweaking their tempos and varying instrumental textures here and there in hopes that listeners won’t notice that they’ve written the same song about romantic frustration in 12 slightly different ways.
  33. Truly, the four dapper Scotsmen that constitute this group should be ashamed of their tuneless, thoughtless, meaningless new offering, which distorts the proud legacy of a band that once mattered.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 100 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 39
  3. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. Aug 28, 2013
    Critics are dull and often wrong. This is the most adventurous album the band has ever done, where every risk has payed off. It sounds like the band we have always loved, matured and a bit rough around the edges, which is a nice change. Gritty synths dominate the album. It has guts and plenty of them. Never a dull moment on this one. Full Review »
  2. Dec 28, 2013
    Seeming to have lost a vital part of what made them so great on their first two albums, Franz Ferdinand's third album is, as a whole, a substantial step down for this once great band. The depth of thinking and creativity that made great songs like "Michael", "Outsiders", "Take Me Out", and "Walk Away" is almost completely gone on this album, replaced by disco beats that do little to make up for it. That said, tracks like "Ulysses", "No You Girls", and "What She Came For" are just too infectious to ignore and save what would otherwise be a mediocre offering. Honestly, this album is going to come down to what makes you like about Franz Ferdinand. If its their fun and catchy side (example: "Do You Want To") than you will love this album, but if its their sarcastic and witty side (example: "The Fallen") you may feel less than fully satisfied by this album. Full Review »
  3. May 25, 2012
    Adding a synth into the band as one of the central instruments is a welcome addition and welcome change, or rather, enhancement to FF's sound. The songs are as catchy as the previous two albums and the 7+ minute "Lucid Dreams" is a fantastic showcase of the newly added synth. Full Review »