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You Could Have It So Much Better is the second studio album by Glaswegianmarker indie rock band Franz Ferdinand that was first released 3 October 2005 in the United Kingdommarker. Recorded in both the United Statesmarker and their own studio in Glasgowmarker with producer Rich Costey, the album gave birth to the release of four UK Top 30 singles "Do You Want To" on 23 August 2005, "The Fallen / L. Wells", "Walk Away" and "Eleanor Put Your Boots On." The album became the band's first UK #1 album and although their debut album was relatively successful in the USA, going platinum and reaching #32, You Could Have It So Much Better managed to reach #8 and earned gold status in the States. The cover design is modeled on Alexander Rodchenko's 1924 portrait of Lilya Brik. It was produced by Rick Costey and Franz Ferdinand.

History

Initially it was reported that the album would simply be eponymous like the debut album, 2004's Franz Ferdinand. Singer Alex Kapranos explained, "The whole point is that the album doesn’t have a title. We decided quite a while ago that we didn’t want to give any of the albums titles, they were just going to be called 'Franz Ferdinand'."

He added, "The albums are going to be identified by their colour schemes rather than a title. The contrast of different colours creates a different mood. We experimented with different combinations of colours and this one stuck. At one level they looked good together, and they capture the mood of this record quite well."

However, on 1 August it was revealed that the band had changed their minds and decided to give the album a name. At first they revealed that the title Outsiders was considered before the current title was decided upon.

As drummer Paul Thomson explained, "I was thinking something similar, but that 'You Could Have It So Much Better' would have been even greater. We talked about how we liked that idea a lot and that it was a real shame that the album wasn't going to have a title. Then we started laughing when we realized that the album hadn't been manufactured yet and we could change it after all." The title was also initially reported as the lengthy You Could Have It So Much Better... With Franz Ferdinand.

The song "You're the Reason I'm Leaving" is believed to be a dual-meaning track; it can be read as a typical relationship-centered song, but also as being a lighthearted political commentary on the rivalry between former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and current UK Prime Minister (then-Chancellor of the Exchequer) Gordon Brown. The song contains the lyric: I'd no idea that in four years I'd be hanging from a beam behind the door of number ten, singing "fare thee well, I am leaving, yes I leave it all to you". "Number ten" here refers to 10 Downing Streetmarker, the address of the UK Prime Minister. Four years is the typical length of a Parliament.

Chart performance

The album was the first chart topping album for both the band and their label, Domino Records, in the UK. In the weeks after being released, the album fell first to 5, then 9, 15, and 24, before resting at #40 in the charts. On 25 December 2005, the album had risen to #37 in the charts. A week later, on 1 January 2006, the album had risen again to #24 in the official UK album charts, but fell two spots to #26 the following week before rising again to #23 on 15 January. A week later, the album had fallen again to #26. On 29 January the album had fallen a further six spots to #32. The album fell out of the top 40 altogether the week of 5 February.

Entering and peaking at #8, the album has sold 378,000 units in the United Statesmarker as of October 2008, somewhat below the sales success of the band's 2004 debut, although it was certified gold.

Reception

The album was well received by music critics. Pitchfork Media gave the album an 8.3 out of 10 and complimented the band on returning with a "big ridiculous stomper, a song whose hooks get so happily ballroom-glam you'd almost think they stole them from the Sweet or the Bay City Rollers-- the kind of song most bands wouldn't be able to pull off without telegraphing a whole lot of irony and embarrassment". Other positive responses are included here:

  • Rolling Stone (No. 985, p.75) - 3.5 out of 5 stars - "You Could Have It So Much Better" shows deeper roots in the first wave of white electric dance music: specifically the crunchy-guitar R&B and arch-garage songwriting of 1965–1967 Kinks...."
  • Spin (p.65) - Ranked #3 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Their second disc builds on the kraut-disco of their debut, but frontman Alex Kapranos' dubious sensitivity makes 'You could have it' so much better than its predecessor." (p.132) - "Kapranos' voice is a marvelous wide-eyed sneer....[The album] sounds exactly like what you'd expect, with pumping disco beats and lookin'-sharp guitars on track after propulsive track." - Grade: B+
  • Entertainment Weekly (No. 844, p.147) - "...Shows Franz Ferdinand working harder and sounding bigger, befitting their stature as rock's saviors of the moment...." - Grade B+
  • Mojo (p.58) - Ranked #11 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2005" - "An imperious state-of-the-nation address delivered with ease."(p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Musically, the palette has grown without getting out of hand. Lead guitarist Nick McCarthy appears to have an inexhaustible well of singable guitar riffs: pungent, perfunctory, and hardly ever pretty..."
  • Vibe (p.210) - "It overflows with danceable beats and catchy hooks".


Track listing

Personnel



Release details

Country Date Label Format Catalog Notes
Japanmarker 28 September 2005 Sony Music Japan CD EICP-555
7 December 2005 CD EICP-575 Japanese reissue
1 February 2006 2CD EICP-595/596 Japanese edition with bonus disc You Could Have It So Much Better & Better
United Kingdommarker 3 October 2005 Domino LP WIGLP161
CD WIGCD161
CD/DVD WIGCD161X
United Statesmarker 4 October 2005 Domino / Epic Records LP E94800
CD EK94800
DualDisc EN97725 Contains the material featured on the UK CD/DVD edition


Album singles



Cover art

The cover is inspired by the works of Alexander Rodchenko, the Russian avant-garde photographer and collage pioneer. In particular, the cover image is a direct copy of Rodchenko's famous portrait of Lilya Brik.

References

  1. http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk/discog.php
  2. Official fan-site news article
  3. Franz Ferdinand: You Could Have It So Much Better... With Franz Ferdinand: Pitchfork Record Review


External links




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