Sound — 10
Franz Ferdinand's new album, "You Could Have It So Much Better" improves vastly on their first release, a huge hit last year which nevertheless had many shortcomings. 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. 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 (no relation to "Eleanor Rigby"). But Franz Ferdinand really shine through on their slower, emotional numbers like "Walk Away", which could bring a lump to anyone's throat. "Fade Together", the second-to-last track, is a beautiful love ballad unlike anything the band has made before. But yet, unlike most upbeat bands who play with downbeat songs, Franz Ferdinand's slower tracks are not corny, boring, or repetitive.
Lyrics — 8
"You Could Have It So Much Better" definitely improves on the stupidity of the "Take Me Out" lyrics (thank God it was catchy) and the over-sexiness of "Darts Of Pleasure" from the first album. "The Fallen" echoes the Bible in one of Jesus' most underrated (and most ignored) statements, "Judge not lest ye be judged," while "What You Meant" plays with some genius rhymes admist catchy music. The band still throws in a few silly dance lyrics in, like "Do You Want To", but songs like "Walk Away," again shining through, make up for that.
Overall Impression — 10
"You Could Have It So Much Better" is most definitely one of the best albums of the year, so far. It shows true progression from Franz Ferdinand's last album, and they might just have the making of a band that will stick around. It has its faults, and some weak tracks (e.g. "Well That Was Easy"), but it is worth buying. Overall, in one sentence: catchy, without the abrasive edge and the stop-starting of some of the songs on the last album, a bit less dance and a bit more soul.