Franz Ferdinand — “Take Me Out”

Released: 1.12.04

Peak: # 66

I was a full-blooded Strokes agnostic in 2001 and, like the rest of my tribe, none too smart about it. So forget all that dumb jabber about trust funds and CBGBs and belts. Really, all we meant to say was that we liked our pretty boys swishier, though maybe it took Franz Ferdinand for us to consciously realize that. As if to answer our unstated desire, “Take Me Out” launches with a Strokesy false intro, less build up than throwaway, its anticipatory cymbal tap and single-note guitar pulse feinting at rock-is-back mastery only to shrug it sassily off.

Then Franz Ferdinand clamber into the meat of the song like Roxy Music fumbling their way through “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” their funk chopping just amateurishly enough to suggest slumming small-room abandon rather than posh arena strut, its lyrics disjointed shouts that battle last-call bar clamor. The capper–“I know I won’t be leaving here with you”–is suggestive rather than despondent, as Alex Kapranos squeezes erotic sparks from fruitless flirtation. I imagine this sentiment helped at least a few young women ditch unwanted suitors, and, counterintuitively enough, helped a couple young men get laid. I know that it made for some sexy dancing regardless of outcome, with plenty of swish.

Swishy, incidentally, is far from the same as fey. The difference is between the game looseness in the hips of the beautiful dance whore and the bored pout of the passive-aggressive poseur. That Jagger successfully employed both proves nothing, though it perhaps explains why Anglophiles often confuse the two traits. Maybe even explains why the Killers leapfrogged past Franz to greater stardom–sometimes all the men know is how to make the little girls misunderstand.

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