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Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is the third album by Scottish rock group Franz Ferdinand. It was released through Domino Records on 26 January 2009 in the UK. "Ulysses" was released on the 19 January 2009 as the first single and is available for streaming on the band's MySpace page. It is a concept album loosely based around a night of partying and the morning effects after. The album has generally been well received by music critics.


Recording history

Although having written about eight songs while on tour in 2005, Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy decided to write new tunes because they wanted the album to be "...quite new, to be quite different sounding from everything we've ever done before." Despite having recorded their second album in a blitz, 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." Franz Ferdinand began working on their third studio album in early 2007. 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. Some songs of the album were written and recorded in the old town hall of Govanmarker, Scotlandmarker. The band first moved in, following a year of touring in support of their second album and mostly used it for storing and rehearsing.

Musical style

The album has reportedly been inspired by the "heavy dub sound of Jamaican reggae stars." Alex Kapranos also stated the album has a "streak of electronica" but is still a mix of influences. He also commented it has "..the heavy bass and space echo you would find on a dub mix." In a Rolling Stone interview, Kapranos stated the album is more of a dance than a rock record. In an interview with, Kapranos said "It's the opposite of punk/pop, which took something that was wonderful and removed all the dirt." He also said the band is using Russian Polyvox synthesizers. The album has somewhat of an African influence according to an XFM article in which Alex reeled, "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." The song "No You Girls" uses a human skeleton for percussion. "Tonight is more of a concept album that explores the highs and lows associated with an evening of debauchery. This album covers all its bases from the initial excitement of the early evening to the numbness of the morning after", writes one reviewer.

Cover art and album title

The artwork for the album is a photograph taken by Søren Solkær Starbird just after midnight behind the Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgowmarker. Talking to NME, drummer Paul Thomson said, "We wanted to get a Weegee vibe – that famous New Yorkmarker crime scene photographer from the '40s and '50s." 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'.

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: Franz Ferdinand, with NME reporting the album's amended title and release date a week later.


In August 2008, Franz Ferdinand released "Lucid Dreams" through iTunes and made it available for listen on their official website. It is also featured on the Madden NFL 09 soundtrack. The band, however, stated on their website that "Lucid Dreams" was not a single. The track on the album differs from this version.

"Ulysses" was chosen to be the first single and was released 19 January 2009. The song received first airplay at BBC Radio 1 on 17 November 2008. It was made available on the iTunes Store in North America on 2 December, and in the UK on 18 January 2009.

"No You Girls" was released as a single on April 6. The song is currently being used in a commercial for the iPod Touch.

A live version of "What She Came For" was released as a free download on the NME Music website's Franz Ferdinand page on 18 December 2008. On January 9, "No You Girls" was released on iTunes. On January 13, it was released as a free download on MySpace Music. On January 22, "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand" was made available for streaming through the band's official MySpace Music profile.

It was announced via the bands website on May 20 that 'Cant Stop Feeling' would be the next single and would be released on July 6.

Blood bonus disc

For the separate worldwide release in June 2009, see Blood .
For its release on January 26, 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.


Critical reception

Tonight received generally good reviews with a total score of 70 on Metacritic with 32 reviews. It did not receive the amount of critical acclaim their first album received. 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." 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." 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. 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." NBC commented on how 'Franz Ferdinand has once again managed to outdo themselves with their best album to date.'

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. 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." 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 Magazine 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".

Commercial reception

The album debuted at number two on the UK Album Chart, as well as number nine on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., selling about 31,000 copies in its first week of release. The album, however, suffered a fifty-place decline on the Billboard 200 from #9 to #59 in its second week on the chart.

Track listing



  • Producer: Franz Ferdinand, Dan Carey
  • Mastering: John Dent
  • Engineer: Paul Savage, Alexis Smith, Dan Carey, Allen Johnston (technical assistance)
  • Mixing: Dan Carey (tracks 4, 7, 8, 10 to 12), Mike Fraser (tracks 1 to 3, 5, 6, 9, 10), Eric Mosher (assistant to Fraser)

  • Artwork: Matthew Cooper, Franz Ferdinand (booklet), Rachel Graham (booklet), Søren Solkær Starbird (front cover)
  • Personal assistant: Jeremiah Olvera

Chart peak positions

Chart Peak

Australian ARIA Albums Chart 6
Austrian Albums Chart 5
Belgian Albums Charts (Flanders) 6
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Danish Albums Chart 17
Dutch Albums Chart 4
Finnish Albums Chart 10
French Albums Chart 4
German Albums Chart 2
Hungarian Albums Chart 6
Irish Albums Chart 10
Italian Albums Chart 8
Japanese Albums Chart 6
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart 10
Norwegian Album Charts 17
Portuguese Album Charts 12
Spanish Albums Chart 3
Swedish Albums Chart 13
Swiss Albums Chart 3
UK Albums Chart 2
U.S. Billboard 200 9


  1. Franz Ferdinand announce new single -
  2. Franz Ferdinand drum with human bones - The Guardian, 10 October 2008 (The song referred to in this article as "Kiss Me", an abbreviation of "Katherine Kiss Me", later became known as "No You Girls")
  3. Franz Ferdinand announce new single - Domino Records website
  4. Hasty, Katie and Keith Caulfield. "Springsteen Has 'Dream' Debut Atop Album Chart". February 4 2009.
  5. Suomen virallinen lista
  6. VG-lista


External links

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